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Vol. XIV, JULY, 1904. No. i 


Single Copies, 25 cents By the Year, $3.00 


By Elbert Hubbard FOR 1904 




i 8ocratC8 7 Immanuel Kant 

^ Seneca 8 Huguetc Comte 

3 HnstptU 9 Voltaire 

4 JMamie Hurelius i o Rerbert Spencer 

5 Spinoza 1 1 Schopenhauer 

6 -Swedenborg i 1 Renry Choreau 

One booklet a month will be issued as usual, beginning Jan- 
uary First. The LITTLE JOURNEYS for Nineteen Hun- 
dred Four will be strictly de luxe in form and workmanship. 
The type will be a new font of antique blackface ; the initials, 
borders and bands designed especially for this work; a 
frontispiece portrait from the original drawing made at our 
Shop. The booklets will be stitched by hand with silk ^3 

The price Twenty-five cents each, or $3.00 a year 


Address THE ROYCROFTERS at their Shop, 
which is at East Aurora, Erie County, New York 

Entered at the postoffice at East Aurora, New York, for transmission as 
second-class mail matter. Copyright, 1903, by Elbert Hubbard 

> ' Little 






TIM'lvtN .v>>;<\ T !5 

R 1941 L 

THE canons of scientific evidence justify us neither in accepting 
nor rejecting the ideas upon which morality and religion repose. 
Both parties to the dispute beat the air; they worry their own shadow; 
for they pass from nature into the domain of speculation where their 
dogmatic grips find nothing to lay hold upon. The shadows which 
they hew to pieces grow together in a moment like the heroes in 
Walhalla, to rejoice anew in bloodless battles. Metaphysics can no 
longer claim to be the corner-stone of religion and morality. But if 
she cannot be the Atlas that bears the moral world she can furnish a 
magic defense. Around the ideas of religion she throws her bulwark 
of invisibility; and the sword of the sceptic, and the battering-ram 
of the materialist fall harmless on vacuity. 

Lecture on THE SEARCH. 

Immanuel ant 


E find that most men fit easily into 
types. You describe to me one Durham 
cow and you picture all Durham cows. 
So it is with men, they belong to 
breeds, which we politely call denom- 
inations, sects, or parties. Tell ma the 
man's sect, and I know his dress, his 
habit of life, his thought. His dress is 
the uniform of his party and his 
thought is that which is ordered and 
prescribed. Dull indeed is the intellect 
which cannot correctly prophesy the 
opinions to which this man will arrive 
on any subject. 

Durham cows are not exactly alike, I 
well know, but a trifle more length of 
leg, a variation in color, or an off-angle 
of the horn and that cow is forever 
barred from exhibition as a Durham. 
She is only fit for beef and the first 
butcher that makes a bid takes her, 
hide and horns. 

Members of sects do not think exactly 
alike, but there are well-defined limits 
of thought and action, beyond which 
they dare not stray lest the butcher 
bag them. In joining a sect they have 
given bonds to uniformity, and have 
signed their willingness to think and 


act like all other members of the sect. Q Herbert 
Spencer deals with this "jiner' propensity in man, 
and describes it as a manifestation of the herding in- 
stinct in animals. It is a combination for mutual pro- 
tection a social contract, each one waiving a part of 
his personality, in order to secure a supposed benefit. 
A herd of cattle can stand against a pack of wolves, 
but a cow alone is doomed. 

Few men indeed can stand against the pack. Wise are 
the many who seek safety in numbers ! Think of those 
who have stood out alone and expressed their in- 
dividuality, and you count on your fingers God's 
patriots dead and turned to dust. 

The paradox of things is shown in that the entrenched 
many, having found safety in aggregation, pay their 
debt of homage to the bold few who lived their lives 
and paid the penalty by death. 

Across the disk of existence, each decade there glide 
five hundred million souls, and disappear forever in 
the dim and dusk of the eternity that lies behind. Out 
of the bare handful that are remembered, we cherish 
only the memories of those who stood alone and ex- 
pressed their honest, inmost thought. And this thought 
is, always and forever, the thought of liberty. Exile, 
ostracism, death, have been their fate, and on the 
smoke of martyr fires their souls mounted to im- 

Future generations often confuse these men with 
Deity, the Maker of the Worlds. And thus do we arrive 


at truth by indirection, for in very fact these were the 
Sons of God, vitalized by Divinity, part and parcel of 
the Power that guides the planets on their way and 
holds the worlds in space. Upon their tombs we carve 
a single word : SAVIOR. 

IMMANUEL KANT was born in 1724 at the City 
of Konigsberg, in the northeast corner of Prussia. 
There he received his education ; there he was a 
teacher for nearly half a century, and there in his 
eightieth year he died. He was never out of East 
Prussia, and never journeyed sixty miles from his 
birthplace during his whole life. Prof. Josiah Royce of 
Harvard, himself in the sage business, and perhaps 
the best example that America has produced of the 
pure type of philosopher, says: "Kant is the only 
modern thinker who in point of originality is worthy 
to be ranked with Plato and Aristotle." Like Emerson, 
Kant regarded traveling as a fool's paradise, only 
Emerson had to travel much before he found it out, 
while Kant gained the truth by staying at home. Once 
a lady took him for a carriage ride, and on learning 
from the footman that they were seven miles from 
home, he was so displeased that he refused to utter a 
single orphic on the way back, and further, the story 
is, that he never after entered a vehicle, and, living for 
thirty years, was never again so far from the lodging 
he called home. 


In his lectures on physical geography Kant would often 
describe mountains, rivers, waterfalls, volcanoes, with 
great animation and accuracy, yet he had never seen 
any of these. Once a friend offered to take him to 
Switzerland so he could actually see the mountains, 
but he warmly declined, declaring that the man who 
was not satisfied until he could touch, taste and see 
was small, mean and quibbling as was Thomas, the 
doubting disciple. Moreover, he had samples of the 
strata of the Alps, and this was enough, which re- 
minds us of the man who had a house for sale and 
offered to send a prospective purchaser a sample brick. 
Q Mind was the great miracle to Kant the ability to 
know all about a thing by seeing it with your inward 
eye. "The Imagination hath a stage within the brain 
upon which all scenes are played,' 1 and the play to 
Kant was greater than the reality. Or, to use his own 
words, " Time and Space have no existence apart from 
Mind. There is no such thing as Sound unless there 
be an ear to receive the vibrations. Things and places, 
matter and substance, come under the same law, and 
exist only as Mind creates them." 

THE parents of Kant were very lowly people. His 
father was a day-laborer a leather-cutter who 
never achieved even to the honors and emolu- 
ments of a saddler. There were seven children in the 
family and never a servant crossed the threshold. One 


daughter survived Immanuel, and in her eighty-fourth 
year she expressed regrets that her brother had proved 
so recreant to the teachings of his parents as practi- 
cally to alienate him from all his relatives. One brother 
became a Lutheran minister and lived out an honored 
career ; the others vanish and fade away into the mist 
of forgetfulness. 

So far as we know, all the children were strong and 
well excepting this one. At birth he weighed but five 
pounds, and his weakness was pitiable. He was the 
kind of a child the Spartans used to quickly make way 
with for the good of the state. He had a big, bulging 
head, thin legs, a weak chest, and one shoulder was so 
much higher than the other that it amounted almost 
to a deformity. 

As the years went by, the parents saw he was not big 
enough to work, but hope was not dead they would 
make a preacher of him ! To this end he was sent to 
the " Fredericianium," a graded school of no mean 
quality. The master of this school was a worthy 
clergyman by the name of Schultz, who was attracted 
to the Kant boy, it seems, on account of his insignifi- 
cant size. It was the affection of the shepherd for the 
friendless ewe lamb. A little later the teacher began 
to love the boy for his big head and the thoughts he 
worked out of it. Brawn is bought with a price young 
men who bank on it get it as legal tender. Those who 
have no brawn have to rely on brain or go without 
honors. Immanuel Kant began to ask his school- 


teacher questions that made the good man laugh. 
Q At sixteen Kant entered Albertina University. And 
there he was to remain his entire life student, tutor, 
teacher, professor. 

He must have been an efficient youth, for before he 
was eighteen he realized that the best way to learn is 
to teach. The idea of becoming a clergyman was at 
first strong upon him ; and Pastor Schultz occasionally 
sent the youth out to preach, or lead religious services 
in rural districts. This embryo preacher had a habit of 
placing a box behind the pulpit and standing on it 
while preaching. Then we find him reasoning the 
matter out in this way, " I stand on a box to preach so 
as to impress the people by my height or to conceal 
my insignificant size. This is pretense and a desire to 
carry out the idea that the preacher is bigger every 
way than common people. I talk with God in pre- 
tended prayer, and this looks as if I were on easy and 
familiar terms with Deity. Is it like those folks who 
claim to be on friendly terms with princes. If I do 
not know anything about God why should I pretend 
I do?" 

This desire to be absolutely honest with himself grad- 
ually grew until he informed the Pastor that he better 
secure young men for preachers who could impress 
people without standing on a box. As for himself, he 
would impress people by the size of his head, if he im- 
pressed them at all. Let it here be noted that Kant 
then weighed exactly one hundred pounds, and was 


less than five feet high. His head measured twenty- 
four inches around and fifteen and one-half inches 
over "firmness" from the opening of the ears. To put 
it another way, he wore a seven-and-a-half hat. 
It is a great thing for a man to pride himself on what he 
is, and make the best of it. The pride of the craftsman 
betokens a valuable worker. "We exaggerate our worth, 
and this is Nature's plan to get the thing done. Q Kant's 
pride of intellect, in degree, came from his insignificant 
form, and thus do all things work together for good. 
But his bony little form was often full of pain, and he 
had headaches, which led a wit to say, " If ahead like 
yours aches, it must be worse than to be a giraffe and 
have a sore throat." 

Young Kant began to realize that to have a big head, 
and get the right use from it, one must have vital power 
enough to feed it. 

The brain is the engine the lungs and digestive ap- 
paratus the boiler. Thought is combustion. 
Young Kant, the uncouth, became possessed of an idea 
that made him the butt of many gibes and jeers. He 
thought that if he could breathe enough, he -would be 
able to think clearly, and headaches would be gone. 
Life, he said, was a matter of breathing, and all men 
died from one cause a shortness of breath. In order 
to think clearly, you must breathe deeply. 
We believe things first and prove them later; our be- 
lief is usually right, when derived from experience, 
but the reasons we give are often wrong. For instance, 


Kant cured his physical ills by going out of doors, and 
breathing deeply and slowly "with closed mouth. Grad- 
ually his health began to improve. But the young man, 
not knowing at that time much about physiology, wrote 
a paper proving that the benefit came from the fresh 
air that circulated through his brain. And of course in 
one sense he was right. He related the incident of this 
thesis many years after in a lecture, to show the result 
of right action and wrong reasoning. 
The doctors had advised Kant he must quit study, but 
when he took up his breathing fad, he renounced the 
doctors, and later denounced them. If he was going to 
die, he would die without the benefit of either the 
clergy or physicians. 

He denied that he was sick, and at night would roll 
himself in his blankets and repeat half aloud, " How 
comfortable I am, how comfortable I am," until he 
fell asleep. 

Near his house ran a narrow street, just a half a mile 
long. He walked this street up and back, with closed 
mouth, breathing deeply, waving a rattan cane to ward 
away talkative neighbors, and to keep up the circula- 
tion in his arms. Once and back in a month he had 
increased this to twice and back. In a year he had 
come to the conclusion that to walk the length of that 
street eight times was the right and proper thing that 
is to say, four miles in all. In other words, he had found 
out how much exercise he required not too much or 
too little. At exactly half past three he came out of his 


lodging, wearing his cocked hat and long, snuff-colored 
coat, and walked. The neighbors used to set their 
clocks by him. He walked and breathed with closed 
mouth, and no one dare accost him or walk with him. 
The hour was sacred and must not be broken in upon 
it was his holy time his time of breathing. 
The little street is there now one of the sights of 
Konigsberg, and the cab drivers point it out as the 
Philosopher's Walk. And Kant walked that little street 
eight times every afternoon from the day he was twenty 
to within a year of his death, when eighty years old. 
Q This walking and breathing habit physiologists now 
recognize as eminently scientific, and there is no sen- 
sible physician but will endorse Kant's wisdom in 
renouncing doctors and adopting a regimen of his own. 
The thing you believe in will probably benefit you 
faith is hygienic. 

The persistency of the little man's character is shown 
in the breathing habit he believed in himself, and 
relied on himself, and that which experience com- 
mended, he did. 

This firmness in following his own ideas saved his life. 
When we think of one born in obscurity, living in 
poverty, handicapped by pain, weakness and deform- 
ity ; never traveling ; and then by sheer persistency 
and force of will rising to the first place among think- 
ing men of his time, one is almost willing to accept 
Kant's dictum, " Mind is supreme, and the Universe 
is but the reflected thought of God." 



KANT was great enough to doubt appearances 
and distrust popular conclusions. He knew that 
fallacies of argument follow fast upon actions, 
reason conies later by slow freight. It is quite necessary 
that we should believe in a Supreme Power, but quite 

I irrelevant that we should prove it. Q Truth for the 
most part is unpopular, and the proof of this statement 
lies in the fact that it is so seldom told. Preachers tell 
people what they wish to hear, and indeed this must 
be so as long as the congregation that hears the preach- 
ing pays for it. People will not pay for anything they 
do not like. Hence, preaching leads naturally to sophis- 
tication and hypocrisy, and the promise of endless bliss 
for ourselves and a hell for our enemies comes about 
as a matter of course. What men will listen to and pay 
for, is the real science of theology. That is to say, the 
science of theology is the science of manipulating men. 
Success in theology consists in finding a fallacy that is 
palatable and then banking on it. Again and again Kant 
points out that a clergyman's advice is usually worth- 
less, because pure truth is out of his province unac- 
customed, undesirable, inexpedient. 
And Kant thought this was true also of doctors 
doctors care more about pleasing their patients than 
telling them truth. " In fact," he said, "no doctor with a 
family to support can afford to tell his patients that his 
symptoms are no token of a disease rather, uncomfort- 
able feelings are proof of health, for dead men don't 
have them." Most of the aches, pains and so-called 


irregularities are remedial moves on the part of nature 
to keep the man well. Kant says that doctors treat 
symptoms, not diseases, and often the treatment causes 
the disease, so no man can tell what proportion of dis- 
eases are caused by medicine and what by other forms 
of applied ignorance. Q As for lawyers, our little phi- 
losopher considered them, for the most part, sharks and 
wreckers. A lawyer looks over an estate, not with the 
idea of keeping it intact, but of dissolving it, and get- 
ting a part himself. Not that men prefer to do what is 
wrong, but self-interest can always produce sufficient 
reasons to satisfy the conscience. Lawyers, being at- 
taches of courts of justice, regard themselves as 
protectors of the people, when really they are the 
plunderers of the people, and their business is quite as 
much to defeat justice as to administer it. The evasion 
of law is as truly a lawyer's work as compliance with 
law. Then our philosopher explains that if law and 
justice were synonymous this state of affairs would be 
most deplorable, but as it is, no particular harm is 
worked, save in the moral degradation of the lawyers. 
The connivance of lawyers tames the rank injustices 
of law, hence, to a degree, we live in a land where 
there is neither law nor justice save such justice as 
can be appropriated by the man who is diplomat 
enough to do without lawyers and wise enough to have 
no property. Justice, however, to Kant is a very un- 
certain quantity and he is rather inclined to regard the 
idea that men are able to administer justice as on a par 


with the assumption of the priest that he is dealing 
with God. Kant once said, "'When a woman demands 
justice, she means revenge." A pupil here interposed, 
and asked the master if this was not equally true of 
men, and the answer was, " I accept the amendment 
it certainly is true of all men I ever saw in court- 
rooms." "Does death end all?" "No," said Kant, 
"there is the litigation over the estate." 
Kant's constant reiteration that he had no use for 
doctors, lawyers and preachers, we can well imagine 
did not add to his popularity. As for his reasoning con- 
cerning lawyers, we can all, probably, recall a few 
jug-shaped attorneys who fill the Kant requirements 
takers of contingent fees and stirrers up of strife, men 
who watch for vessels on the rocks and lure with false 
lights the mariner to his doom. But matters since 
Kant's day have changed considerably for the better. 
There is a demand now for a lawyer who is a business 
man and who will keep people out of trouble instead of 
getting them in. And we also have a few physicians 
who are big enough to tell a man there is nothing the 
matter with him, if they think so, and then charge him 
accordingly in inverse ratio to the amount of medicine 

And while we no longer refer to the clergyman as our 
spiritual adviser, excepting in way of pleasantry, he 
surely is useful as a social promoter. 


THE parents of Kant were Lutherans punc- 
tilious and pious. They were descended from 
Scotch soldiers 'who had come over here two 
hundred years before and settled down after the war, 
just as the Hessians settled down and went to farm- 
ing in Pennsylvania, their descendants occasionally 
becoming Daughters of the Revolution, because their 
grandsires fought with Washington. 
This Scotch strain gave a sturdy bias to the Kants 
these Lutherans were really rebels, and as every one 
knows, there are only two ways of dealing with a 
religious Scotchman agree with him or kill him. 
Most people said that Kant was supremely stubborn 
he himself called it "firmness in the right." Once 
when a couple of calumniators were thinking up all 
the bad things they could say about him, one of them 
exclaimed, " He is n't five feet high ! ' 
" Liar ! " came the shrill voice of the Philosopher, who 
had accidently overheard them, "Liar! I am exactly 
five feet!" And he drew himself up, and struck his 
staff proudly and defiantly on the ground. 
Which reminds one of the story told of Professor 
Josiah Royce, who once rang up six fares on the register 
when he wished to stop a Boston street-car. When the 
conductor protested, the philosopher called him "up- 
start," "curmudgeon" and "nincompoop," & showed 
the fallacy of his claim that thirty cents had been lost, 
since nobody had found it. Moreover, he offered to prove 
his proposition by algebraic equation, if one of the gen- 


tlemen present had chalk and blackboard on his person. 
Q Once Kant -was looking at the flowers in a beautiful 
garden. But instead of looking through the iron pickets, 
he stooped over and was squinting through the key- 
hole of the lock. A student coming along asked him 
why he did n't look through the pickets and thus get 
a perfect view. " Go on, you fool," was the stern reply, 
" I am studying the law of optics the unobstructed 
vision reveals too much the vivid view' is only gotten 
through a small aperture." 

All of which was believed to be a sudden inspiration 
in -way of reply that came to the great professor when 
caught doing an absent-minded thing. That Kant was 
not above a little pious prevarication is shown by a 
story he himself tells. He was never inside of a church 
once during the last fifty years of his life. But when he 
became Chancellor of the University, one of his duties 
was to lead a procession to the Cathedral where certain 
formal religious services were held. Kant tried to have 
the exercises in a hall, but failing in this, he did his duty, 
and marched like a pigmy drum-major at the head of 
the cavalcade. " Now he will have to go in," the 
scoffers said. 

But he didn't. Arriving at the church door, he excused 
himself, pleading an urgent necessity, walked around 
to the back of the church, sacrificed, like Diogenes, to 
all the gods at once, and made off for home, quietly 
chuckling to himself at the thought of how he had cir- 
cumvented the enemy. 


Every actor has just so many make-ups and no more. 
Usually the characters he assumes are variations of a 
single one. Steele Mackaye used to say, "There are 
only five distinct dramatic situations." The artist, too, 
has his properties. And the recognition of this truth 
caused Massillon to say: "The great preacher has but 
one sermon, yet out of this he makes many by giving 
portions of it backwards, or beginning in the middle and 
working both ways, or presenting patch work pieces, 
tinted and colored by his mood." All public speakers 
have canned goods they fall back upon when the fresh 
fruit of thought grows scarce. 

The literary man also has his puppets, pet phrases, 
and situations to his liking. Victor Hugo always catches 
the attention by a blind girl, a hunchback, a hunted 
convict or some mutilated and maimed unfortunate. 
Q In his lectures, Kant used to please the boys by such 
phrases as this: "I dearly love the muse, although I 
must admit that I have never been the recipient of any 
of her favors." This took so well that later he was en- 
couraged to say: "The Old Metaphysics is positively 
unattractive, but the New Metaphysics is to me most 
lovely, although I cannot boast that I have ever been 
honored by any of her favors." 

A large audience caused Kant to lose his poise he 
became self-conscious, but in his own little lecture- 
room, with a dozen, or fifty at the most (because this 
was the capacity of the room) he was charming. He 
would fix his eye on a single boy, and often upon a 


single button on this boy's coat, and forgetting the im- 
mediate theme in hand, would ramble into an amusing 
and most instructive monologue of criticism concerning 
politics, pedagogy or current events. In his writing he 
was exact, heavy and complex, but in these heart-to- 
heart talks, Herder, who attended Kant's lectures for 
five years, says : " The man had a deal of nimble wit, and 
here Kant was at his best." So we have two different 
men the man who wrote the " Critique," and the man 
who gave the lectures and clarified his thought by ex- 
plaining things to others. It was in the lectures that 
he threw off this: "Men are creatures that cannot do 
without their kind, yet are sure to quarrel when to- 
gether." This took fairly well, and later he said : " Men 
cannot do without men, yet they hate each other when 
together." And in a year after comes this: "A man is 
miserable without a wife, and is seldom happy after 
he gets one." No doubt this caused a shout of applause 
from the students, college boys being always on the 
lookout for just such things ; and coming from a very 
confirmed old bachelor it was peculiarly fetching. 
To say that Kant was devoid of wit, as many writers 
do, is not to know the man. About a year after the 
"Critique of Pure Reason" appeared, he wrote this: 
" I am obliged to the learned public for the silence with 
which it has honored my book, as this silence means 
a suspension of judgment and a wise determination not 
to voice a premature opinion." He knew perfectly well 
that the "learned public" had not read his book, and 


ji ___^__^^^^^^^^^^_^__ 

moreover, could not, intelligently, and the silence be- 
tokened simply a stupid lack of interest. Moreover, he 
knew there was no such thing as a learned public. 
Kant's remark reveals a keen wit and it also reveals 
something more the pique of the unappreciated author 
who declares he does n't care what the public thinks of 
him, and thereby reveals the fact that he does. 
Here are a couple of remarks that could only have been 
made in the reign of Frederick the Great, and under 
the spell of a college lecture : " The statement that man 
is the noblest work of God was never made by anybody 
but man, and must therefore be taken * cum granum 
sails.' " " Vie are told that God said He made man in 
His own image, but the remark was probably ironical." 
C Schopenhauer says : "The chief jewel in the crown 
of Frederick the Great is Immanuel Kant. Such a man 
as Kant could not have held a salaried position under 
any other monarch on the globe at that time and have 
expressed the things that Kant did. A little earlier or 
a little later, and there would have been no such 
person as Immanuel Kant. Rulers are seldom big men, 
but if they are big enough to recognize and encourage 
big men, they deserve the gratitude of mankind ! ' 

KANT was sixty years old before he was known 
to any extent beyond his native town ; but so 
fast then did his fame travel that at his death 
it was recognized that the greatest thinker of the world 


had passed away. Kant founded no school ; but Fichte, 
Schelling, Hegel, Herder and Schopenhauer were all 
his children and all but Schopenhauer showed their 
humanity by denouncing him, for men are prone to 
revile that which has benefited them most. Kant 
marks an epoch and all thinkers who came after him 
are his debtors. His philosophy has passed into the 
current coin of knowledge. 

Kant's lifelong researches revolve around four prop- 
ositions : 

I. Who am I? 

II. What am I ? 

III. What can I do? 

IV. What can I know? 

The answer to Number Four is that I cannot know 
anything. That is to say, the wise man is the man who 
knows that he does not know. And this disposes of 
Number One and Number Two, leaving only Number 
Three for our consideration. It took, however, a good 
many years and a vast amount of study and writing for 
Kant to thus simplify. For years he toiled with alge- 
braic formulas and syllogistic theorems before he con- 
cluded that the best wisdom of life lies in simplification, 
not complexity. 

" What can I do ? " resolves itself into : " "What must I 
do ? ' And the answer is : You must do four things in 
order to retain your place as a normal being upon this 
earth: eat, work, associate with your kind, rest. Just 
four things we must do, and outside of this everything 


is incidental, accidental, irrelevant and inconsequent. 
Then, how to eat, -work, associate and rest wisely and 
best, constitutes life. Every man should be free to 'work 
out these four equations for himself, his freedom end- 
ing where another man's rights begin. To these four 
questions we should bring our highest reason, our 
ripest experience and our best endeavor. As for him- 
self, we know that Kant made a schedule of life which 
evolved a sickly boy into a reasonably strong man who 
banished pain, sorrow and regret from his existence 
and lived a long life of deep, quiet satisfaction, sane to 
the end, watching every symptom of approaching dis- 
solution with keen interest, and at the last passing into 
quiet sleep, his spirit gliding peacefully away, perhaps 
to answer those two great questions which he said 
were unanswerable here, "Who am I?" "What am I?" 






Single Copies, 25 cents 

By the Year, $3.00 


By Rlbert Hubbard FOR 1 904 




i Socrates 7 Immaniiel Kant 

2 Scmca 8 Huguste Comte 

3Hnetotle 9 Voltaire 

4 JMarcus Hurelius i o Rerbert Spencer 

5 Spinoza 1 1 Schopenhauer 

6 Swedenborg i 2 Renry Choreau 

m ^**'^ ll * l ^ m * mmm ** m ' ' I "^"^^" MM '"^ MM **^*^*^"*^^ M *''^^*'*" M "*T^'"^* M ^^^*^*^*' 
One booklet a month will be issued as usual, beginning Jan- 
uary First. The LITTLE JOURNEYS for Nineteen Hun- 
dred Four will be strictly de luxe in form and workmanship. 
The type will be a new font of antique blackface ; the initials, 
borders and bands designed especially for this work; a 
frontispiece portrait from the original drawing made at our 
Shop. The booklets will be stitched by hand with silk ^3 

The price- -Twenty-five cents each, or $3.00 a year 

Address THE ROYCROFTERS at their Shop, 
which is at East Aurora, Erie County, New York 

Entered at the postoffice at East Aurora, New York, for transmission as 
second-class mail matter. Copyright, 1903, by Elbert Hubbard 




C o m t e 


IN the name of ths Past and of the Future, the servants of Hu- 
manity both its philosophical and its practical servants come 
forward to claim as their due the general direction of the world. 
Their object is to constitute at length a real Providence in all de- 
partments moral, intellectual, and material. 



A u g u s t e C o m t e 


LITTLE girl from the city once asked 
of her country cousin, when honey was 
the topic up for discussion, " Does your 
papa keep a bee?" 

Let the statement go unchallenged, 
that a single bee has neither the dis- 
position nor the ability to make honey. 
Q Bees accomplish nothing save as 
they work together, and neither do 

Great men come in groups. 
Six men, three living at the village of 
Concord, Massachusetts, and three at 
Cambridge, fifteen miles away, sup- 
plied America really all her literature, 
until Indiana suddenly loomed large 
on the horizon, and assumed the center 
of the stage, like the spirit of the 

Five men made up the Barbizon 
school of painting, which has influenced 
the entire art education of the world. 
And that those who have been influ- 
enced and helped most, deny their re- 
deemer with an oath, is a natural 
phenomenon psychologists look for and 
fully understand. 

Greece had a group of seven thinkers, 
in the time of Pericles, who made the 


name and fame of the city deathless. QRome had a sim- 
ilar group in the time of Augustus ; then the world went 
to sleep, and although there were individuals, now and 
then, of great talent, their lights went out in darkness, 
for it takes bulk to make a conflagration. 
Florence had her group of thinkers and doers when 
Michael Angelo and Leonardo lived only a few miles 
apart, but never met. Yet each man spurred the other 
on to do and dare, until an impetus was reached that 
sent the names of both down the centuries. 
Boswell gives us a group of a dozen men who made 
each other possible often helped by hate and strength- 
ened by scorn. 

The Mutual Admiration Society does not live in piping 
times of peace, where glowing good- will strews violets; 
often the sessions of this interesting aggregation are 
stormy and acrimonious, but one thing holds the man 
who arises at this board must have something to say. 
Strong men, matched by destiny, set each other a pace. 
Criticism is full and free. The most interesting and the 
most successful social experiment in America owed its 
lease of life largely to its scheme of Public Criticism, 
a plan society at large will adopt when it puts off 
swaddling clothes. Public Criticism is a diversion of 
gossip into a scientific channel. It is a plan of healthful, 
hygienic, social plumbing. 

England produced one group of thinkers that changed 
the complexion of the theological belief of Christendom 
Darwin, Spencer, Wallace, Huxley and Mill. But 


this group built on the French philosophers, who were 
taught antithetically by the decaying and crumbling 
aristocracy of France. Rousseau and Voltaire loved 
each other and helped each other, as the proud Leo- 
nardo helped the humble and no less proud peasant, 
Michael Angelo by absent treatment. 
Victor Hugo says that when the skulls of Voltaire and 
Rousseau were taken in a sack from the Pantheon and 
tumbled into a common grave, a spark of recognition 
was emitted that the grave-digger did not see. 
Voltaire was patronized by Frederick the Great, who, 
though a married man, lived a bachelor life and forbade 
women his court, and protected Kant with the bulging 
forehead and independent ways. Kant lived among a 
group of thinkers he never saw, but reached out and 
touched finger-tips with them over the miles that his 
feet never traversed. 

To Kant are we indebted for Turgot, that practical and 
far-seeing man of affairs told of in matchless phrase in 
Thomas Watson's ''Story of France," the best book 
ever written in America, with possibly a few excep- 
tions. Condorcet kept step with him, and Auguste 
Comte calls Condorcet his spiritual step-father, and a 
wit of the time here said, " Then Turgot is your uncle ;" 
and Comte replied, " I am proud of the honor, for if 
Turgot is my uncle, then indeed am I of royal blood." 
Q Auguste Comte is the one bright particular star amid 
that milky way of riotous thinkers which followed 
close upon the destruction of the French Monarchy. 


When Napoleon visited the grave of Rousseau, he 
mused in silence and then said, "Perhaps it might 
have been as well if this man had never lived." 
And Marshal Ney, standing near, said, " It reveals 
small gratitude for Napoleon Bonaparte to say so." 
Napoleon smiled and answered, " Possibly the world 
would be as well off if neither of us had ever lived." 

Q Auguste Comte thought that Napoleon was just as 
necessary in the social evolution as Rousseau, and that 
both were needed and he himself was needed to make 
the matter plain in print. 

AUGUSTE COMTE was born at Montpelier, 
France, in 1798. His father was receiver of taxes, 
an office that carried with it much leisure and a 
fair income. Men of leisure seldom have time to think 
if you want a thing done it is safest and best not to 
pick a publican. Only busy men have time to do things. 
The men who have good incomes and work little, are 
envied only by those with a mental impediment. 
The boy Auguste owed little to his parents for his pe- 
culiar evolution, save as his father taught him by 
antithesis the children of drunkards make temperance 
fanatics, and shiftless fathers sometimes have sons 
who are great financiers. 

"When nine years of age, the passion to know and to be- 
come was upon Auguste Comte. He was small in 
stature, insignificant in appearance, and had a great 


appetite for facts. Comte is a fine refutation of the 
maxim that infant prodigies fall victims to arrested 

At twelve years of age he was filled with the idea that 
the social order was all wrong. To the utter astonish- 
ment of his parents and tutors, he argued that the 
world could not be bettered until mankind was taught 
the lesson that history, languages, theology and polite 
etiquette were not learning at all ; and as long as edu- 
cated men centered on these things, there was no hope 
for the race. 

The birch was brought in to disannex the boy from his 
foolishness, but this only seemed to make him cling 
the closer to what he was pleased to call his convic- 
tions #T & 

He read books that wearied the brains of grown-ups, 
and took a hearty interest in the abstruse, the obscure 
and the complex. 

At thirteen, that peculiar time when the young turn to 
faith, this perverse rare-ripe was so filled with doubt 
that it ran over and he stood in the slop. He offered to 
publicly debate the question of Free-will with the local 
cure ; and on several occasions stood up in meeting 
and contradicted the preacher. 

His parents, thinking to divert his mind from abstrac- 
tions to useful effort, sent him to the Polytechnic 
School at Paris, that excellent institution founded by 
Napoleon, which served America most nobly as a 
model for the Boston School of Technology, only the 


French " Polytechnique ' was purely a government 
institution a sample of the twentieth century sent for 
the benefit of the nineteenth. 

But institutions are never much beyond the people 
they cannot be, for the people dilute everything until 
it is palatable. Laws that do not embody public opinion 
can never be enforced. No man who expresses himself 
is really much ahead of his time if he is, the times 
snuff him out, and quickly. 

In 1814, the Polytechnic School was well saturated 
with the priestly idea of education, and the attempt 
'was made to produce an alumni of cultured men, 
rather than a race of useful ones. 

Revolt was rife in the ranks of the students. It is still 
debatable whether revolution and riot in colleges are 
actuated by a passion for truth or a love of excitement. 
Anyway, the "Techs' laid deep places to the effect 
that when a certain professor appeared at chapel, a 
unique reception would be in store for him. 
He appeared, and a fusillade of books, rulers, and ink- 
wells shot at his learned head from every quarter of 
the room. Other professors appeared and sought to 
restore order. Riot followed seats were torn up, win- 
dows broken, and there was much loud talk and gestic- 
ulation peculiarly Gallic. 
It was '93 done in little. 

Instead of expelling the delinquents, the National 
Assembly took the matter in hand and simply voted to 
close the school. 


Auguste Comte went home a hero, proud as a Heidel- 
berg student with a sweeping scar on his chin and the 
end of his nose gone. " I have dealt the Old Education 
its death-blow,'" he solemnly said, mistaking a cane- 
rush for a revolution. 

Against the direct command of his parents, he went 
back to Paris. He had now reached the mature age of 
eighteen. He resolved to write out truth as it occurred 
to him, and incidentally he would gain a livelihood by 
teaching mathematics. 

At Paris, the mental audacity of the youth won him 
recognition ; he picked up a precarious living, and was 
a frequenter at scientific lectures and discussions, and 
in gatherings where great themes were up for debate, 
he was always present. 

Benjamin Franklin was his ideal. In his note-book he 
wrote this: "Franklin at twenty-five resolved he 
would become great and wise. I now vow the same at 
twenty." He had five years the start ! 
Franklin, calm, healthy, judicial, wise the greatest 
man America has produced worked his philosophy 
up into life. He did not think much beyond his ability 
to perform. To him, to think was to do. And he did 
things that to many men were miracles. 
Comte once said, " I would have followed the venerable 
Benjamin Franklin through the street, and kissed the 
hem of the homespun overcoat, made by Deborah." 
These men were very unlike. One was big, gentle, calm 
and kind ; the other was small, dyspeptic, excitable 


and full of challenge. Yet the little man had times of 
insight and abstraction, when he tracked reasons farther 
than the big, practical man could have followed them. 
Q Franklin's habit of life the semi-ascetic quality of 
getting your gratification by doing without things 
especially pleased Comte. He lived in a garret on two 
meals a day, and was happy in the thought that he 
could endure and yet think and study. The old mon- 
astic impulse was upon him, minus the religious fea- 
tures or stay ! why may not science become a religion ? 
And surely science can become dogmatic, and even 
tyrannically build a hierarchy on a hypothesis no less 
than theology. 

A friend, pitying young Comte' s hard lot, not knowing 
its sweet recompense, got him a position as tutor in 
the household of a nobleman ; like unto the kind man 
who caught the sea-gulls roosting on an iceberg, and 
in pity, transferred them to the warm delights of a 
compost-pile in his barn-yard. 

Comte held the place for three weeks and then re- 
signed. He went back to the garret and sweet liberty- 
having had his taste of luxury, but miserable in it all 
wondering how a gavotte or a minuet could make a 
man forget that he was living in a city where thirty 
thousand human beings were constantly only one meal 
beyond the sniff of starvation. 

At this time Comte came into close relationship with 
a man who was to have a very great influence in his 
life this was Count Henri of Saint-Simon, usually 


spoken of as Saint-Simon. Q Saint-Simon was rich, 
gently proud, and fondly patronizing. He was a sort of 
scientific Maecenas and be it known that Maecenas 
was a poet and philosopher of worth, and one Horace 
was his pupil. 

Saint-Simon was an excellent and learned man who 
wrote, lectured and taught on philosophic themes. He 
had a garden-school, modeled in degree after that of 
Plato. Saint-Simon became much interested in young 
Comte, invited him to his classes, supplied him books, 
clothing, and tickets to the opera. Part of the time 
Comte lived under Saint-Simon's roof, and did trans- 
lating and copying in partial payment for his meal 
ticket. The teacher and pupil had a fine affection for 
each other. What Comte needed, he took from Saint- 
Simon as if it were his own. 

In writing to friends at this time, Comte praises Saint- 
Simon as the greatest man who ever lived " a model 
of patience, generosity, learning and love my spiritual 
father ! " There was fifty years' difference in their ages, 
but they studied, read and rambled the realm of books 
together, with mutual pleasure and profit. 
The central idea of the "Positive Philosophy" is that 
of the three stages through which man passes in his 
evolution. This was gotten from Saint- Simon, and to- 
gether they worked out much of the thought that Comte 
afterward carried further and incorporated in his book. 
Q But about this time, Saint-Simon, in one of his lec- 
tures, afterward printed, made use of some of the 


thoughts that Comte had expressed, as if they were 
his own and possibly they were. There is no copy- 
right on an idea, no caveat can be filed on feeling, and 
at the last there is no such thing as originality, ex- 
cepting as a matter of form. 

Young Comte now proved his humanity by accusing 
his teacher of stealing his radium. A quarrel followed, 
in which Comte was so violent that Saint-Simon had 
to put the youth out of his house. 

The wrangles of Grub Street would fill volumes both 
sides are always right, or wrong, it matters little, and 
is simply a point of view. But the rancor of it all, if 
seen from heaven, must serve finely to dispel the 
monotony of the place ; it would be a panacea for 
paradisical ennui. 

From lavish praise, Comte swung over to words of 
bitterness and accusation. Having sat at the man's 
table and partaken of his hospitality for several years, 
he was now guilty of the unpardonable offense of ridi- 
culing and berating him. 

He speaks of the Saint as a "depraved quack," and 
says that the time he spent with him was worse than 
wasted. If Saint-Simon was the rogue and pretender 
that Comte avers, it is no certificate of Comte's insight 
that it took him four years to find it out. 


IN 1825 Comte married. The ceremony was per- 
formed civilly, on a sudden impulse of what 
Schopenhauer would call "the genius of the 
genus." The lady was young, agreeable; and having 
no opinions of her own, was quite willing to accept his. 
Comte congratulated himself that here was virgin soil, 
and he laid the flattering unction to his soul, that he 
could mold the lady's mind to match his own. She 
would be his help-meet. Comte had not read Ouida, 
who once wrote that when God said, " I will make an 
help-meet for him," He was speaking ironically. 
Comte had associated but very little with women he 
had theories about them. Small men, with midget 
minds, know femininity much better than do the great 
ones. Traveling salesmen, with checked vests, gauge 
women as Herbert Spencer never could. 
Comte' s wife was pretty and she was astute as most 
pretty women are. John Fiske, in his lecture on 
'* Communal Life," says that astute persons add noth- 
ing of value to the community in which they live 
their mission being to be the admired glass of fashion 
for the non-cogibund. The value of astuteness is that 
it protects the astute from the astute. 
Samuel Johnson and his wife had their first quarrel on 
the way from the church, and Auguste Comte and his 
wife tiffed going down the steps from the notary's. 
Comte had no use for ecclesiastical forms, and the lady 
agreed with him until after the notary had earned his 
fee. Then she suddenly had qualms, like those peculiar 


ladies told of by Robert Louis Stevenson, who turn the 
Madonna's face to the wall. 

The couple went to Montpelier on their wedding tour, 
to visit Comte's parents. The new wife agreed with 
the old folks on but one point the marriage should be 
solemnized by a priest. Having won them on this 
point, they stood a solid phalanx against the husband ; 
but the lady took exceptions to Montpelier on all other 
grounds she hated the place thoroughly and said so. 
C Instead of molding her to his liking, Comte was being 
kneaded into animal crackers for her amusement. 
Then we find him writing to a friend confessing that 
his hopes were ashes ; but in his misery he grows phi- 
losophical and says, "It is all good, for now I am 
driven back to my work, and from now on my life is 
dedicated to science." 

No doubt the lady was as much disappointed in the 
venture as was the husband, but he, being literary, 
eased his grief by working it up into art, while her side 
of the story lies buried deep in silence glum. 
In choosing the names of philosophers for this series, 
no thought was given in the selection beyond the 
achievements of the men. But it now comes to me 
with a slight surprise that seven out of the twelve 
were unmarried, and probably it would have been as 
well certainly for the wives if the other five had re- 
mained bachelors, too. Xantippe would have been the 
gainer, even if Socrates had missed his discipline. 
To center on science and devote one's thought to phi- 


losophy, produces a being more or less deformed. 
There is great danger in specialization : nature sacri- 
fices the man in order to get the thing done. Abstract 
thought unfits one for domestic life; for, to a degree, it 
separates a man from his kind. 

The proper advice to a woman about to marry a phi- 
losopher would be, " Don't! " 

THE advantages of a little actual hardship in 
one's life is that it makes existence real and not 
merely literary. Comte was inclined to thrive 
on martyrdom. His restless, eager mind invented 
troubles, if there were no real ones, but he was wise 
enough to know this, as he once said, "The trials of 
life are all of one size imaginary pains are as bad as 
real ones, and men who have no actual troubles usually 
conjure forth a few. Thus far, happily, I am not re- 
duced to this strait." 

We thus see that the true essence of philosophy was 
there. Comte got a gratification by dissecting, analyz- 
ing and classifying his emotions. All was grist that 
came to his mill. 

When he was twenty-eight the Positive Philosophy 
had assumed such proportions in his mind that he an- 
nounced a course of twelve lectures on the subject. 
He was jealous of his discoveries, and was intent on 
getting all the credit that was due him. Money he 
cared little for, and power and reputation to him were 


the only gods worth appeasing. The thought of do- 
mestic joy 'was forever behind, but philosophy came 
as a solace. 

A prospectus was sent out and tickets were issued. 
The landlady where he boarded offered her parlor and 
her boarder, second floor back, for the benefit of sci- 
ence. Several zealous denizens of the Latin Quarter 
made a canvass, and enough tickets were sold so that 
the philosopher felt that at last the world was really 
at his feet. 

When the afternoon for the first lecture arrived, no 
carriages blocked the street, and as only about half of 
those who had purchased tickets appeared, the diffi- 
culties of the landlady and her nervous boarder were 
much lessened. 

There was one man at this first lecture who was pro- 
foundly impressed, and if we had his testimony, and 
none other, we might well restrain our smiles. That 
man was Alexander von Humboldt. In various passages 
Humboldt does Comte the honor of quoting from him, 
and in one instance says: " He has summed up certain 
phases of truth better than they have ever been ex- 
pressed before." Little did the landlady guess that her 
crusty, crabbed boarder was firing a shot that would be 
heard 'round the world and surely the gendarme on 
that particular beat never heard it so small and com- 
monplace are the beginnings of great things ! When 
Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me 
death," he spoke to just twenty-four men. 


Comte was so saturated with his theme so immersed 
in it that it consumed him like a fever. Three lectures 
were given, but at the fourth, without warning, the 
man's nerves snapped he stopped, sat down, and the 
audience thought they had merely seen one of the 
eccentricities of genius. The philosopher's mind was 
a blank, and kind friends sent him away to a hospital 
for treatment. 

It was two years before he regained his reason. 
Nervous Prostration is heroic treatment on the part 
of nature. It is an intent to do for the man what he 
will never do for himself give him a rest. 

UNKIND critics, hotly intent on refuting the 
Positive Philosophy, seized upon the fact of 
Comte's mental trouble and made much of it. 
" Look you ! ' ' said they, "the man is insane ! ' 
This is convenient but not judicial. Comte's philosophy 
stands or falls on its own merits, and what the author 
did before, after, or during the writing of his theses, 
matters not. Madmen are not mad all the time, and the 
fact that Sir Isaac Newton was for a time unbalanced, 
does not lessen our regard for the " Principia," nor 
consign to limbo the law of gravitation. Ruskin's work 
is not the less thought of because the man had his pa- 
thetic spells of indecision. Martin Luther had visions 
of devils before he saw the truth, and Emerson's love 
for Longfellow need not be disparaged because he 


looked down on that still, white face and said "A dear, 
gentle soul, but I really cannot remember his name." 
Q Men write on physiology, and then die, but this does 
not disprove the truth they expressed, but failed, pos- 
sibly, to fully live. The great man always thinks farther 
than he can travel even the rest of us can do that. 
We can think " Chicago " in a second, but to go there, 
across the continent, takes time, strength and money. 
Q When Comte's mental trouble was at its height, and 
two men were required to care for him, Lamennais 
persuaded his wife to have their marriage solemnized 
by the church, and this was done. This performance 
was such a violation of sanctity and decency, that in 
after years Comte could not believe it was true, until 
he consulted the church records. " They might as well 
have had me confirmed," said Comte, grimly. And we 
can well guess that the action did not increase his re- 
gard either for his wife or the church. The trick seems 
quite on a par with that of the astute colored gentle- 
men who anxiously ask for love powders at the cor- 
ner drug store ; or the good wives who purchase 
harmless potions from red-dyed rogues to place in the 
husband's coffee to cure him of the liquor habit. 
However, the incident gives a clue to the mental pro- 
cesses of Madame Comte she would accomplish by 
trickery what she had failed to do by moral suasion, 
and this in the name of religion ! 

Two years of enforced rest, and the glowing mind of 
the philosopher awoke with a start. He rubbed his 


eyes after his Rip- Van- Winkle sleep, and called for his 
manuscripts he must prepare for the fourth lecture ! 
QThe rest of the course was given, and in 1830 the first 
volume of Positive Philosophy was issued. 
The sixth and last volume appeared in 1842 twelve 
years of intense application and ceaseless work. This 
was the happiest time of Comte's life he had the 
whole scheme in his head from the start but he now 
saw it gradually taking form, and it was meeting with 
appreciation from a few earnest thinkers, at least. His 
services were in demand for occasional lectures on 
scientific subjects. In astronomy, especially, he ex- 
celled, and on this theme he was able to please a pop- 
ular assembly. 

The Polytechnic School had now grown to large pro- 
portions, and the institution that Comte had helped to 
slide into dissolution now called him back to serve as 
examiner and professor. 

The constant misunderstandings with his wife had in- 
creased to such a point that both felt a separation de- 
sirable. Married people do not separate on slight excuse 
they go because they must. That Comte thought 
much more of the lady when they were several hun- 
dred miles apart than when they were together, there 
is no doubt. He wrote to her at regular intervals, one- 
half of his income was religiously sent to her, and he 
practised the most painstaking economy in order that 
he might feel that she was provided for. 
One letter, especially, to his wife reveals a side of 


Comte's nature that shows he had the instinct of a true 
teacher. He says, "I hardly dare disclose the sweet 
and softened feeling that comes over me when I find a 
scholar whose heart is thoroughly in his work." 
The Positive Philosophy was taken up by John Stuart 
Mill, who wrote a fine essay on it. It was Mill who 
introduced the work to Harriet Martineau. Mr. and 
Mrs. Mill intended to translate and condense the phi- 
losophy of Comte for English readers, but when Miss 
Martineau expressed her intention of attempting the 
task, they relinquished the idea, but backed her up in 
her efforts. 

Miss Martineau condensed the six volumes into two, 
and what is most strange, Comte thought so well of 
the work that he wrote a glowing acknowledgment of it. 
Q The Martineaus were of good old Huguenot stock, 
and the French language came easy to Harriet. For the 
plain people of France she had a profound regard, and 
being sort of a revolutionary by pre-natal instincts, 
Comte's work from the start appealed to her. James 
Martineau had such a bristling personality being very 
much like his sister Harriet that when this sister 
wrote a review of a volume of his sermons, showing 
the fatuity and foolishness of the reasoning, and calling 
attention to much bad grammar, the good man cut her 
off with a shilling ; " Which he will have to borrow," 
said Harriet. 

James hugged the idea to his death that his sister had 
insulted his genius " But I forgive her," he said, 


which remark proves that he had n't, for if he had, he 
would not have thought to mention the matter. James 
Martineau was a great man, but if he had been just a 
little greater he would have taken a profound pride in 
a sister who was so sharp a shooter that she could 
puncture his balloon. James Martineau was a theo- 
logian, Harriet was a Positivist. But Positivity had a 
lure for him, and so there is a long review, penned 
largely with aqua fortis, on Miss Martineau's transla- 
tion, done by her brother for the " Edinburgh Review," 
wherein Harriet is not once mentioned. 
When Robert Ingersoll's wife would occasionally, un- 
der great stress of the servant-girl problem, break over 
a bit, as good women will, and say things, Robert 
would remark, " Gently, my dear, gently I fear me 
you have n't yet gotten rid of all your Christian 

The Rev. Dr. James Martineau never quite got rid of 
his Christian virtues, which perhaps proves that a lit- 
tle hate, like strychnine, is useful as a stimulant when 
properly reduced, for Dr. Martineau died only a few 
years ago, having nearly rounded out a century run. 
Of Harriet Martineau was in much doubt about how 
Comte would regard her completed work, but was 
greatly relieved when he gave it his unqualified ap- 
proval. On his earnest invitation she visited him in 
Paris. Fortunately, she did not have to resort to the 
Herbert Spencer expedient of wearing ear-muffs for 
protection against loquacious friends. She liked Comte 


first-rate, until he began to make love to her. Then his 
stock dropped below par. 

Cornte was always much impressed by intellectual 
women. His wife had given him a sample of the other 
kind, and caused him to swing out and idealize the 
woman of brains. 

That Harriet Martineau admired the Positive Phi- 
losophy was proof sufficient to Comte of her excellence 
in all things. She knew better, and started soon for 

Mr. and Mrs. Mill had called on Comte a few months 
before, and given him a glimpse of the ideal an intel- 
lectual man mated with an intellectual woman. But 
Comte did n't see that it was plain common sense 
that made them great. Comte prided himself on his 
own common sense, but the article was not in his 
equipment, else he would not have put the blame of all 
his troubles upon his wife. A man with common sense, 
married to a woman who has n't any, does not neces- 
sarily forfeit his own. 

Mr. or Mrs. Mill would have been great anywhere 
singly, separate, together, or apart. Each was a radi- 
ant center. Weakness multiplied by two does not give 
strength, and naught times naught equals naught. 


HAVING finished the Positive Philosophy, 
Comte's restless mind began to look around for 
more worlds to conquer. 

In the expenditure of money, he was careful, and in 
his accounts exact ; but the making of money and its 
accumulation were things that to him could safely be 
delegated to second-class minds. A haughty pride of 
intellect was his, not unmixed with that peculiar qual- 
ity of the prima donna which causes her to cut fantas- 
tic capers and make everybody kiss her big toe. 
Comte had done one thing superbly well. England had 
recognized his merit to a degree that France had not, 
and to his English friends he now made an appeal for 
financial help, so he could have freedom to complete 
another great 'work he had in his mind. To John Stuart 
Mill he wrote, outlining in a general way his new book 
on social science, to be called "The Positive Polity." 
It was, in a degree, to be a sequel to the Positive Phi- 

Mill communicated with Grote, the banker, known to 
us through his superb history of Greece, and with the 
help of George Henry Lewes and a mite from Herbert 
Spencer to show his good will, a purse equal to about 
twelve hundred dollars was sent to Comte. 
Matters went along for a year, when Comte wrote a 
brief letter to Mill suggesting that it was about time 
for another remittance. Mill appealed to Grote, and 
Grote, the man of affairs, wrote to his Paris corre- 
spondent, who ascertained that Comte, now believing 


he was free from the bread-and-butter bugaboo, was 
giving his services to the Polytechnic, gratis, and also 
giving lectures to the people wherever some one would 
simply pay for the hall. 

To advance money to a man that he might write a 
book showing how the nation should manage its finan- 
ces, when the author could not look after his own, re- 
minded Grote of the individual who wrote from the 
Debtor's Prison to the Secretary of the Exchequer, 
giving valuable advice. All publishers are familiar with 
the penniless person who writes a book on "How to 
Achieve Success," expecting to achieve success by 
publishing it. 

Grote wrote to Mill, expressing the wholesome truth 
that the first duty of every man was to make a living 
for himself a fact which Mill states in " On Liberty." 
Mill had n't the temerity to pass Grote's maxim along 
to Comte, and so sent a small contribution out of his 
own pocket. This was very much like the Indian who, 
feeling that his dog's tail should be amputated, cut it 
off a little at a time so as not to hurt the animal. We 
have all done this, and got the ingratitude we deserved. 
(I Comte wrote back a most sarcastic letter, accusing 
Mill and Grote with having broken faith with him. 
He now treated them very much as he had Saint- 
Simon; and in his lectures seldom failed to tell in 
pointed phrase what a lot of money-grubbing barba- 
rians inhabited the British Isles. To the credit of Mill 
be it said that he still believed in the value of the Posi- 


tive Philosophy, and did all he could to further Comte's 
reputation and help the sale of his books. 

IN 1845, when Comte was forty-seven years old, he 
met Madame Clothilde de Vaux. Her husband was 
in prison, serving a life sentence for political of- 
fenses, and Comte was first attracted to her through 
pity. Soon this evolved into a violent attachment, and 
Comte began to quote her in his lectures. 
Comte was now most busy with his " Polity" in col- 
laboration with Madame de Vaux. Her part of the 
work seems to have been to listen to Comte while he 
read her his amusing manuscript : and she, being a good 
woman and wise, praised the work in every part. They 
were together almost daily, and she seemed to supply 
him the sympathy hi had all of his life so much craved. 
Q In one short year Madame de Vaux died, and Comte 
for a time was inconsolable. Then his sorrow found 
surcease in an attempt to do for her in prose what 
Dante had done for Beatrice in poetry. But the vehicle 
of Comte's thoughts creaked. The exact language of 
science when applied to a woman becomes peculiarly 
non-piquant and lacking in perspicacity and perspi- 
cuity. No woman can be summed up in an algebraic 
formula, and when a mathematician does a problem to 
his lady's eyebrow, he forgets entirely that femininity 
forever equals X. Those who can write Sonnets from 
the Portuguese may place their loves on exhibition, no 


others should. Sweets too sweet do cloy. Q For the 
rest of his life, Comte made every 'Wednesday after- 
noon sacred for a visit to the grave of Madame de 
Vaux, and three times every day, -with the precision 
of a Mussulman, he retired to his room, locked the 
door, and in silence apostrophized to her spirit. Comte 
now continued as industrious as ever, but the quality 
of his writing lamentably declined. His popular lectures 
to the people on scientific themes were always good, 
and his -work as a teacher was satisfactory, but when 
he endeavored to continue original research, then his 
hazards of mind lacked steady flight. 
The Positive Polity degenerated into a dogmatic 
scheme of government where the wisest should rule. 
The determination of who was wisest was to be left to 
the wise ones themselves, and Comte himself volun- 
teered to be the first Pope. 

The worship of Humanity would be the only religion, 
and women would shine as the high priests. Comte 
thought it all out in detail, and arranged a complete 
scheme of life, and actually wished to form a political 
party and overthrow the government, founding a gyn- 
ocracy on the ruins. His ebbing mind could not grasp 
the thought that tyranny founded on goodness is a 
tyranny still, and that a despotic altruism is a despotism 
nevertheless. Slavery blocks evolution. 
So thus rounded out the life of Auguste Comte begin- 
ning in childhood, he traversed the circle, and ended 
where he began. 


He died in his sixtieth year. M. Littre, his most famous 
pupil, touchingly looked after his wants to the last, 
ministered to his necessities, advancing money on 
royalties that were never due. M. Littre occasionally 
apologized for the meagerness of the returns, and was 
closely questioned and even doubted by Comte, who 
died unaware of the unflinching loyalty of a friendship 
that endured distrust and contumely without resent- 
ment. Such love and patience as that shown by M. 
Littre redeems the race. 

The best certificate to the worth of Auguste Comte lies 
in the fact that, in spite of marked personal limitations 
and much petty querulousness, he profoundly influ- 
enced such men as Littre, Humboldt, Mill, Lewes, 
Grote, Spencer and Frederick Harrison. 
To have helped such men as these, and cheered them 
on their way, was no small achievement. Comte' s sole 
claim for immortality lies in the Positive Philosophy. 
The word "positive," as used by Comte, is similar in 
intent to pose, poise fixed, final. So besides a positive 
present good, Comte believed he was stating a final 
truth. To-wit : That which is good here is good every- 
where, and if there is a future life, the best preparation 
for it is to live now and here, up to your highest and 
best. Comte protested against the idea of "a preparation 
for a life to come" now is the time, and the place is 
here & & 

The essence of Positive Philosophy is that man passes 
through three mental periods the Theological or fie- 


titious ; the Metaphysical or abstract ; the Positive or 


Hence, there are three general philosophies or systems 

of conceptions concerning life and destiny. 

The Theological, or first system, is the necessary 

starting point of the human intellect. The Positive, or 

third period, is the ultimate goal of every progressive, 

thinking man ; the second period is merely a state of 

transition that bridges the gulf between the first and 

third <T & 

Metaphysics holds the child by the hand until he can 
trust his feet it is a passage-way between the ficti- 
tious and the actual. Once across the chasm, it is no 
longer needed. 

Theology represents the child ; Metaphysics the youth; 
Science the man. 

The evolution of the race is mirrored in the evolution 
of the individual. Look back on your own career your 
first dawn of thought began in an inquiry, " Who made 
all this how did it all happen ? " 

And Theology comes in with a glib explanation : the 
fairies, dryads, gnomes and gods made everything, and 
they can do with it all as they please. Later, we con- 
centrate all of these personalities in one god, with a 
devil in competition, and this for a time satisfies. 
Later, the thought of an arbitrary being dealing out 
rewards and punishments, grows dim, for we see the 
regular workings of Cause and Effect. We begin to talk 
of Energy, the Divine Essence, and the Reign of Law. 


We speak as Matthew Arnold did of "a Power, not 
ourselves, that makes for righteousness." But Emerson 
believed in a power that was in himself that made 
for righteousness. 

Metaphysics reaches its highest stage when it affirms 
''All is One," or "All is Mind," just as Theology 
reaches its highest conception when it becomes Mono- 
theistic having one God and curtailing the personality 
of the devil to a mere abstraction. 

But this does not long satisfy, for we begin to ask, 
"What is this One?" or "What is Mind?" 
Then Positivity comes in and says that the highest 
wisdom lies in knowing that we do not know anything, 
and never can, concerning a First Cause. All we find 
is phenomena and behind phenomena, phenomena. 
The laws of nature do not account for the origin of the 
laws of nature. Spencer's famous chapter on the Un- 
knowable was derived largely from Comte, who at- 
tempted to define the limits of human knowledge. And 
it is worth noting, the one thing which gave most of- 
fense in both Comte' s and Spencer's works was their 
doctrine of the Unknowable. This, indeed, forms but 
a small part of the work of these men, and if it were 
all demolished there would still remain their doctrine 
of the known. The bitterness of Theology toward 
Science arises from the fact that as we find things out 
we dispense with the arbitrary god, and his business 
agent, the priest, who insists that no transaction is 
legal unless he ratifies it. 


Men begin by explaining everything, and the explana- 
tions given are always first for other people. Parents 
answer the child, not telling him the actual truth, but 
giving him that which will satisfy that which he can 
mentally digest. To say " the fairies brought it," may 
be all right until the child begins to ask who the fairies 
are, and want to be shown one, and then we have to 
make the somewhat humiliating confession that there 
are no fairies. 

But now we perceive that this mild fabrication in ref- 
erence to Santa Glaus, and the fairies, is right and 
proper mental food for the child. His mind cannot 
grasp the truth that some things are unknowable; and 
he is not sufficiently skilled in the things of the world to 
become interested in them he must have a resting 
place for his thought, so the fairy tale comes in as an aid 
to the growing imagination. Only this : we place no pen- 
alty on disbelief in fairies, nor do we make special of- 
fers of reward to all who believe that fairies actually 
exist. Neither do we tell the child that people who be- 
lieve in fairies are good, and that those who do not are 
wicked and perverse. 

Comte admits that the theological and metaphysical 
stages are necessary, but the sooner man can be grad- 
uated out of them the better. He brought vast research 
to bear in order to show the growth and death of the- 
ological conceptions. Hate, fear, revenge and doubt are 
all theological attributes, detrimental to man's best 
efforts. That moral ideas were an after-thought, and 


really form no part of theology, Comte emphasized at 
great length, and shows from much data where these 
ideas were grafted onto the original tree. 
And the sum of the argument is, that all progress of 
mind, body and material things has come to man 
through the study of Cause and Effect. And just in de- 
gree as he has abandoned the study of Theology as 
futile and absurd, and centered on helping himself here 
and now, has he prospered. 

Positivism is really a religion. The object of its wor- 
ship is Humanity. It does not believe in a devil or any 
influence that works for harm, or in opposition to man. 
Man's only enemy is himself, and this is on account 
of his ignorance of this 'world, and his superstitious 
belief in another. Our troubles, like diseases, all come 
from ignorance and weakness, and through our igno- 
rance are we weak and unable to adjust ourselves to 
conditions. The more we know of this world the bet- 
ter we think of it, and the better are we able to use it 
for our advancement. 

So far as we can judge, the Unknown Cause that rules 
the world by unchanging laws is a movement forward 
toward happiness, growth, justice, peace and right. 
Therefore, the Scientist, who perceives that all is good 
when rightly received and rightly understood, is really 
the priest or holy man the mediator and explainer of 
the mysteries. As fast as we understand things they 
cease to be supernatural, for the supernatural is the 
natural not yet understood. The theological priest who 


believes in a god and a devil is the real modern infidel. 
Such a belief is fallacious, contrary to reason, and 
contrary to all the man of courage sees and knows. 
QThe real man of faith is the one who discards all 
thought of " How it first happened," and fixes his mind 
on the fact that he is here. The more he studies the 
conditions that surround him, the greater his faith in 
the truth that all is well. 

If men had turned their attention to Humanity, dis- 
carding Theology, using as much talent, time, money 
and effort in solving social problems, as they have in 
trying to wring from the skies the secrets of the Un- 
knowable, this world would now be a veritable para- 
dise. It is Theology that has barred the entrance to 
Eden, by diverting the attention of men from this 
world to another. Heaven is Here. 

All religious denominations now dimly perceive the 
trend of the times, and are gradually omitting theology 
from their teachings and taking on ethics and sociol- 
ogy instead. A preacher is now simply Society's walk- 
ing delegate. We are evolving theology out and soci- 
ology in. Theology has ever been the foe of progress 
and the enemy of knowledge. It has professed to know 
all and has placed a penalty on advancement. The Age 
of Enlightenment will not be here until every church 
has evolved into a schoolhouse, and every priest is a 
pupil as well as a teacher. 




Vol. XIV. SEPTEMBER, 1904. No. 3 

Single Copies, 25 cents 

By the Year, $3.00 


By EJbext Hubbard FOR 1904 




t Soeratea 7 Immanuel Kant 

2 Seneca 8 Huguste Comte 

3 Hrtetotk 9 Voltaire 

4 ]Mami9 HurcUus i o Rerbert Spencer 

5 Spinoza 1 1 Schopenhauer 

6 Swedenborg i ^ Renry Cboreau 

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WE are intelligent beings ; and intelligent beings cannot have 
been formed by a blind, brute, insensible being. There is 
certainly some difference between a clod and the ideas of Newton. 
Newton's intelligence came from some greater Intelligence. 


V o 1 1 a, i r e 


| HE man, Francois Marie Arouet, known 
to us as Voltaire, ( which name he 
adopted in his twenty-first year) was 
born in Paris in 1694. He was the sec- 
ond son in a family of three children. 
During his babyhood he was very frail ; 
in childhood sickly and weak, and 
throughout his whole life he suffered 
much from indigestion and insomnia. 
Q In all the realm of -writers no man 
ever had a fuller and more active 
career, touching life at so many points, 
as Voltaire. 

The first requisite in a long and useful 
career would seem to be, have your- 
self born weak and cultivate dyspepsia, 
nervousness and insomnia. "Whether 
or not the good die young is still a 
mooted question, but certainly the 
athletic often do. All those good men 
and true, who at grocery, tavern and 
railroad station eat hard-boiled eggs 
on a wager, and lift barrels of flour 
with one hand, are carried to early 
graves, and over the grass-grown 
mounds that cover their dust, con- 
sumptive, dyspeptic and neurotic rela- 
tives, for twice or thrice a score of 
years, strew sweet myrtle, thyme and 


mignonette. Q Voltaire died of an accident too much 
Four-o' Clock cut off in his prime, when life for him 
was at its brightest and best, aged eighty-three. 
The only evidence we have that the mind of Voltaire 
failed at the last came from the Abbe Gaultier and the 
Cure of St. Sulpice. These good men arrived with a 
written retraction, which they desired Voltaire to sign. 
"Waiting in the ante-room of the sick-chamber they sent 
in word that they wished to enter. "Assure them of 
my respect," said the stricken man. But the holy men 
were not to be thus turned away, so they entered. 
They approached the bedside, and the Cure of St. Sul- 
pice said: "M. de Voltaire, your life is about to end. 
Do you acknowledge the divinity of Jesus Christ ? ' 
C[ And the dying man stretched out a bony hand, ma- 
king a gesture that they should depart, and murmured, 
" Let me die in peace." 

" You see," said the Cure to the Abbe, as they with- 
drew, " you see that he is out of his head ! ' ' 

THE father of Voltaire, Francois Arouet, was a 
notary who looked after various family estates 
and waxed prosperous on the crumbs that fell 
from the rich man's table. 

He was solicitor to the Due de Richelieu, the Sullys, 
and also the Duchesse de Saint- Simon, mother of the 
philosopher, Saint-Simon, who made the mistake of 
helping Auguste Comte, thus getting himself hotly 


and positively denounced by the man who formulated 
the " Positive Philosophy." 

Arouet belonged to the middle class and never knew 
that he sprang from a noble line until his son announced 
the fact. It was then too late to deny it. 
He was a devout Churchman, upright in all his affairs, 
respectable, took snuff, walked with a waddle and cul- 
tivated a double chin. M. Arouet pater did not marry 
until his mind was mature, so that he might avoid the 
danger of a mis-mating. He was forty, past. The second 
son, Francois fils, was ten years younger than his 
brother Armand, so the father was over fifty when our 
hero was born. Francois fils used to speak of himself 
as an after-thought a sort of domestic post-script, 
"but," added he musingly, "our after-thoughts are 
often best." 

One of the most distinguished clients of M. Arouet was 
Ninon de Lenclos, who had the felicity to be made 
love to by three generations of Frenchmen. Ninon has 
been likened for her vivacious ways, her flashing in- 
tellect, & her perennial youth, to the divine Sara, who 
at sixty, plays the part of Juliet with a woman of thirty 
for the old nurse. Ninon had turned her threescore 
and ten, and swung gracefully into the home-stretch, 
when the second son was born to M. Arouet. She was 
of a deeply religious turn of mind, for she had been 
loved by several priests, and now the Abbe de Cha- 
teauneuf was paying his devotions to her. 
Ninon was much interested in the new arrival, and 


going to the house of M. Arouet, took to bed, and sent 
in haste for the Abbe de Chateauneuf, saying she was 
in sore trouble. 'When the good man arrived, he thought 
it a matter of extreme unction, and was ushered into the 
room of the alleged invalid. Here he was duly presented 
with the infant that later was to write the " Philosoph- 
ical Dictionary." It was as queer a case of kabojolism 
as history records. 

Doubtless the Abbe was a bit agitated at first, but 
finally getting his breath, he managed to say: " As there 
is a vicarious atonement, there must also be, on oc- 
casion, vicarious births, and this is one God be 

The child was then baptized, the good Abbe standing 
as godfather. 

There must be something, after all, in pre-natal influ- 
ences, for as the little Francois grew up he evolved the 
traits of Ninon de Lenclos and the Abbe much more 
than those of his father and mother. 
When the boy was a little over six years old the mother 
died. Of her we know absolutely nothing. In her son's 
writings he refers to her but once, wherein he has her 
say that " Boileau was a clever book, but a silly man." 
Q The education of the youngster seemed largely to 
have been left to the Abbe, his godfather, who very 
early taught him to recite the " Mosiad," a metrical 
effusion wherein the mistakes of Moses were related 
in churchly Latin, done first for the divertisement of 
sundry pious monks in idle hours. 


At ten years of age Francois was sent to the College 
of Louis-le- Grand, a Jesuit school where the minds of 
youth were molded in things sacred and secular. 
In only one thing did the boy really excel, and that 
was in the matter of making rhymes. The Abbe Cha- 
teauneuf had taught him the trick before he could 
speak plainly, and Ninon had been so pleased with the 
wee poet that she left him two thousand francs in her 
will for the purchase of books. As Ninon insisted on 
living to be ninety, Voltaire discounted the legacy and 
got it cashed on dedicating a sonnet to the divine 
Ninon. In this sonnet Voltaire suggests that a life of 
virtue conduces largely to longevity, as witness the 
incomparable Ninon de Lenclos, to which sentiment 
Ninon filed no exceptions. 

In one of the school debates young Francois presented 
his argument in rhyme, and evidently ran in some 
choice passages from the " Mosiad," for Father le Jay, 
according to Condorcet, left his official chair, and 
rushing down the aisle, grabbed the boy by the collar, 
and shaking him, said: " Unhappy boy ! you will one 
day be the standard-bearer of deism in France!" a 
prophecy, possibly, made after its fulfilment. 
Young Francois remained at the college until he was 
seventeen years old. From letters sent by him while 
there, it is evident that the chief characteristic of his 
mind was already a contempt for the clergy. Of two of 
his colleagues who were preparing for the priesthood, 
he says: " They had reflected on the dangers of a world, 


of the charms of which they were ignorant; and on the 
pleasures of a religious life of which they knew not the 
disagreeableness." Already we see he was getting 
handy in polishing a sentence with the emery of his wit. 
Continuing, he says: "In a quarter of an hour they ran 
over all the orders, and each seemed so attractive that 
they could not decide. In which predicament they 
might have been left like the ass, which died of star- 
vation between two bundles of hay, not knowing which 
to choose. However, they decided to leave the matter 
to Providence, and let the dice decide. So one became 
a Carmelite and the other a Jesuit." 

^' I -EVNXTl -s \-nUSs^r~^ c-*v^ 

ROUET,at first, intent on having his son become 
a priest, now fell back on the law as second 
choice. The young man was therefore duly ar- 
ticled with a firm of advocates and sent to hear lec- 
tures on jurisprudence. But his godfather introduced 
him into the Society of the Temple, a group of wits, of 
all ages, who could take snuff and throw off an epigram 
on any subject. The bright young man, flashing, dash- 
ing and daring, made friends at once through his skill in 
writing scurrilous verse upon any one whose name 
might be mentioned. This habit had been begun in col- 
lege, where it was much applauded by the underlings, 
who delighted to see their unpopular teachers done to 
a turn. The scribbling habit is a variant of that peculiar 
propensity which finds form in drawing a portrait on 


the blackboard before the teacher gets around in the 
morning. If the teacher does not happen to love art for 
art's sake, there may be trouble, but verses are safer, 
for they circulate secretly and are copied and quoted 

The thing we do best in life is that which we play at 
most in youth. 

Ridicule was this man's weapon. For the benefit or 
the Society of the Temple he paid his respects to the 
sham piety and politics of Versailles. He had been ed- 
ucated by priests, and his father was a politician feed- 
ing at the public trough. The young man knew the 
faults and foibles of both priest and politician, and his 
keen wit told truths about the court that were so well 
expressed the waste-basket did not capture them. One 
of these effusions was printed, anonymously, of course, 
but a copy coming into the hands of M. Arouet, the old 
gentleman recognized the literary style and became 
alarmed. He must get the young man out of Paris the 
Bastille yawned for poets like this ! 
A brother of the Abbe de Chateauneuf was ambassa- 
dor at The Hague, and the great man being importuned, 
consented to take the youth as clerk. 
Life at The Hague afforded the embryo poet an oppor- 
tunity to meet many distinguished people. 
In Francois there was none of the bourgeois he asso- 
ciated only with nobility and as he had an aristoc- 
racy of the intellect, which served him quite as well 
as a peerage, he was everywhere received. In his 


manner there was nothing apologetic he took every- 
thing as his divine right. 

In this brilliant little coterie at The Hague was one 
Madame Dunoyer, a writer of court gossip and a so- 
cial promoter of ability, separated from her husband 
for her husband's good. Francois crossed swords with 
her in an encounter of wit, was worsted, but got even by 
making love to her; and later he made love to her 
daughter, a beautiful girl of about his own age. 
The air became surcharged with gossip. There was 
danger of an explosion any moment. Madame Dunoyer 
gave it out that the brilliant subaltern was to marry 
the girl. The Madame was going to capture the youth, 
either with her own charms or those of her daughter 
or combined. Rumblings were heard on the horizon. 
The Ambassador fearing entanglement, bundled young 
Arouet back to Paris, with a testimonial as to his 
character, quite unnecessary. A denial without an ac- 
cusation is equal to a plea of guilty ; and that the young 
man had made the mistake of making violent love to 
the mother and daughter at the same time there is no 
doubt. The mother had accused him and he said things 
back ; he even had shown the atrocious bad taste of 
references in rhyme to the mutual interchange of con- 
fidences that the mother and daughter might enjoy. 
The Ambassador had acted none too soon. 
The father was frantic with alarm the boy had dis- 
graced him, and even his own position seemed to be 
threatened when some wit adroitly accused the parent 


of writing the doggerel for his son. G[M. Arouet de- 
nied it with an oath while the son refused to explain, 
or to say anything beyond that he loved his father, 
thus carrying out the idea that the stupid old notary 
was really a wit in disguise, masking his intellect by a 
seeming dullness. No more biting irony was ever put 
out by Voltaire than this, and the pathos of it lies in 
the fact that the father was quite unable to appreciate 
the quip. 

It was a sample of filial humor much more subtle 
than that indulged in by Charles Dickens, who pil- 
loried his parents in print, one as Mr. Micawber and 
the other as Mrs. Nickleby. Dickens told the truth 
and painted it large, but Francois Arouet dealt in in- 
discreet fallacy when he endeavored to give his father a 
reputation for raillery. 

A peculiarly offensive poem, appearing about this time, 
with the Regent and his daughter, the Duchesse de 
Berri, for a central theme, a rescript was issued which 
indirectly testified to the poetic skill of young Arouet. 
He was exiled to a point three hundred miles from 
Paris and forbidden to come nearer on penalty, like 
unto the injunction issued by Prince Henry against 
the blameless Falstaff. Rumor said that the father had 
something to do with the matter. 

But the exile was not for long. The young poet wrote 
a most adulatory composition to the Regent, setting 
forth his innocence. The Regent was a mild and ami- 
able man and much desired peace with all his subjects 


especially those who dipped their quills in gall. He 
was melted by the rhyme that made him out such a 
paragon of virtue, and made haste to issue a pardon. 
Q The elder Arouet now proved that he was not wholly 
without humor, for he wrote to a friend: "The exile 
of my dear son distressed me much less than does 
this precipitate pardon." 

In order to protect himself the father now refused a 
home to the son, and Francois became a lodger at a 
boarding-house. He wrote plays and acted in them, 
penned much bad poetry, went in good society and 
had a very rouge time. Up to this period he knew little 
Latin and less Greek, but now he had an opportunity 
to furbish up on both. He found himself an inmate of the 
Bastille, on the charge of expressing his congratula- 
tions to the people of France on the passing of Louis 
the Fourteenth. In America, libel only applies to live 
men, but the world had not then gotten this far along. 
Q In the prison it was provided that Sieur Arouet fils 
should not be allowed pens and paper on account of 
his misuse of these good things when outside. He 
was given copies of the Bible, however, in Greek and 
Latin, and he set himself at work, with several of the 
other prisoners, to perfect himself in these languages. 
"We have glimpses of his dining with the governor of 
the prison, and even organizing theatrical perform- 
ances, and he was also finally allowed writing ma- 
terials on promise that he would not do anything 
worse than translate the Bible, so altogether he was 


very well treated. Qln fact, he himself referred to this 
year spent in prison as "a pious retreat, that I might 
meditate, and chasten my soul in quiet thought." 
He was only twenty-one, and yet he had set Paris by 
the ears, and his name was known throughout France. 
"I am as well known as the Regent and will be re- 
membered longer," he wrote a statement and a pro- 
phecy that then seemed very egotistical, but which 
time has fully justified. 

It was in prison that he decided to change his name to 
Voltaire, a fanciful word of his own coining. His pre- 
tended reason for the change was that he might begin 
life anew and escape the disgrace he had undergone 
of being in prison. There is reason to believe, however, 
that he was rather proud of being "detained," it was 
proof of his power he was dangerous outside. But his 
family had practically cast him off he owed nothing 
to them and the change of name fostered a myste- 
rious noble birth, an idea that he allowed to gain cur- 
rency without contradiction. Moliere had changed his 
name from Poquolin and was he not really following 
in Moliere' s footsteps, even to suffering disgrace and 
public odium ? 

VOLTAIRE'S play of " GEdipe" was presented 
at the Theatre Francaise, November 18, 1718. 
This play was written before the author's so- 
journ in prison, but there he had sand-papered its 


passages, and hand-polished the epigrams. It was 
rehearsed at length with the help of the "guests" at 
the Bastille, and once Voltaire wrote a note of appre- 
ciation to the Prefect of Police, thanking him for his 
thoughtfulness in sending such excellent and pure- 
minded people to help him in his work. 
These things had been managed so they discreetly 
leaked out, and the cafes echoed with the name 
of Voltaire. 

Very soon after his release the play was presented to 
a crowded house. It was a success from the start, for 
into its lines the audience was allowed to read many 
veiled allusions to Paris public characters. It ran for 
forty-five nights, and was the furore. On one occasion, 
when interest seemed to lag, Voltaire, on a sudden 
inspiration, dressed up as a bumpkin page, and at- 
tended the Pontiff, carrying his train, playing various 
& sundry sly pranks in pantomime, a la Francis Wilson. 
Q In one of the boxes sat a famous beauty, the Duchesse 
de Villars. " Who is this strange person who is intent 
upon spoiling the play?" she asked. On being told 
that he was the author of the drama, her censure 
turned to approbation and she sent for the young man. 
His appearance in her box was duly noted. The Regent 
and his daughter, the Duchesse de Berri could not 
resist the temptation to attend the play, and see how 
much they were satirized. Voltaire did his little train- 
bearing act for their benefit, with a few extra grimaces, 
which pleased them very much, and seeing his oppor- 


tunity, wrote a gracious letter of thanks to His 
Highness for having deigned to visit his play, 'winding 
up with thanks for the years in the Bastille where, 
''God wot, all of my evil inclinations were duly cha- 
stened and corrected." 

It had the desired effect each side feared the other. 
The Regent wanted the ready writers on his side, and 
the playwright who was opposed by the party in 
power, could not hope for success. The Regent sent a 
present of a thousand crowns to Voltaire and also fixed 
on him a pension of twelve hundred livres a year. At 
once every passage in the play that could be construed 
as bearing on royalty was revised into words of adu- 
lation, and all went merry as a marriage bell. Finan- 
cially the play was a success, and better yet was the 
pension and the good-will of the young King and his 
Regent #* & 

Thus at twenty-two did Voltaire have the world at 
his feet. 

WHEN Voltaire was twenty-four, his father 
died. The will provided that the property 
should be equally divided between his three 
children, but it was stipulated that the second son 
should not come into possession of his share until he 
was thirty-five, and not then unless he was able to 
show the Master in Chancery that he was capable of 
wisely managing his own affairs. 


This doubt of the father concerning the son's financial 
ability has often been commented upon ironically, in 
view of the pronounced thrift shown by Voltaire in 
later life. 

But who shall say whether the father by that pro- 
vision in his will did not drive home a stern lesson in 
economy ? Commodore Vanderbilt had so much dis- 
trust of his son "William's capacity for business that he 
exiled him to a Long Island farm, on an allowance. 
Years after, when William had shown his ability to 
outstrip his father, he rebuked a critic who volunteered 
a suggestion to the effect that the father had erred in 
the boy problem. Said William: *' My father was right 
in this, as in most other things I was a fool, and he 
knew it." 

Voltaire's vacation of a year in the Bastille had done 
him much good. Then the will of his father, with its 
cautious provisions, tended to sober the youth to a 
point where he was docile enough for society's needs. 
Q A good deal of ballast in way of trouble was neces- 
sary to hold this man down. 

Marriage might have tamed him. Bachelors are of two 
kinds those who are innocent of women, and those 
who know women too well. The second class, I am 
told, outnumbers the first as ten to one. 
Voltaire had been a favorite of various women 
usually married ladies, and those older than himself. 
He had plagiarized Franklin, saying, fifty years before 
the American put out his famous advice: " If you 


must fall in love, 'why, fall in love with a woman 
much older than yourself, or at least a homely one 
for only such are grateful." 

In answer to a man who said divorce and marriage 
were instituted at the same time, Voltaire said, "This 
is a mistake: there is at least three days' difference. 
Men sometimes quarrel with their wives at the end 
of three days, beat them in a week and divorce them 
at the end of a month." 

Voltaire was small and slight in stature, but his bub- 
bling wit and graceful presence more than made 
amends for any deficiency in -way of form and feature. 
Had he desired, he might have taken his pick among 
the young women of nobility, but we see the caution 
of his nature in limiting his love affairs to plain women, 
securely married. "Gossip isn't busy with the plain 
women that is why I like you," he once said to 
Madame de Bernieres. What the Madame's reply was, 
we do not know, but probably she was not displeased. 
If a woman knows she is loved, it matters little what 
you say to her. Compliments by the right oblique are 
construed into lavish praise when expressed in the 
right tone of voice by the right person. 
The Regent had allowed Voltaire another pension of 
two thousand francs, at the same time intimating that 
he hoped the writer's income was sufficient so he 
could now tell the truth. Voltaire took the hint, so 
subtly veiled, to the effect that if he again affronted 
royalty by unkind criticisms, his entire pension would 


be canceled. QFrom this time on to the end of his 
life, he was full of lavish praise for royalty. He was 
needlessly loyal and dedicated poems and pamphlets 
to nobility, right and left, in a way that would have 
caused a smile were not nobility so hopelessly bound 
in three-quarters pachyderm. He also wrote religious 
poems, protesting his love for the Church, And here 
seems a good place to say that Voltaire was a member 
of the Catholic Church to his death. Many of his 
worst attacks on the priesthood -were put in way of 
defense for outrageous actions which he enumerated 
in detail. He kept people guessing as to what he meant 
and what he would do next. 

Immediately after the death of President McKinley 
there was a fine scramble among the editors of certain 
saffron sheets to get in line and shake their ulsters 
free from all taint of anarchy. Some writers, in order 
to divert suspicion from themselves, hotly denounced 
other men as anarchists. 

Throughout his life Voltaire had spasms of repentance, 
prompted by caution, possibly, when he warmly de- 
nounced atheists, and swore i' faith, that the one object 
of his life was to purify the Church and cleanse it of 
its secret faults. 

In his twenty-sixth year, when he was trying hard to 
be good, he got into a personal altercation with the 
Chevalier de Rohan, an insignificant man bearing a 
proud name. The Chevalier's wit was no match for 
the other's rapier-like tongue, but he had a way of 


his own in which to get even. He had his servants 
waylay the luckless poet and chastise him soundly 
with rattans. 

Voltaire was furious; he tried to get the courts to take 
it up, but the prevailing idea was that he had gotten 
what he deserved, and the fact that the whole affair 
occurred after dark and the Chevalier did not do the 
beating in person, made conviction impossible. 
But Voltaire now quit the anapest and dactyl and de- 
voted his best hours to taking fencing lessons. His 
firm intent was to baptize the soil with Rohan's 
blood. Voltaire was of enough importance so the se- 
cret police knew of all his doings. Suddenly he found 
himself taking a post-graduate course in the Bastille. 
I am not sure that the fiery little man was entirely 
displeased with the procedure. It proved to the world 
that he was a dangerous character, and it also gave 
him a respite from the tyranny of the fencing master, 
and allowed him to turn to his first, last and only 
love literature. In Voltaire's cosmos was a good deal 
of the Bob Acres quality. 

There were plenty of reasons for locking him up 
heresy and treason have ever been first cousins and 
pamphlets lampooning Churchmen high in office were 
laid at his door. No doubt some of the anonymous 
literature was not his " I would have done the thing 
better or not at all," he once said in reference to a 
scurrilous brochure. The real fact was, that that par- 
ticular pamphlet was done by a disciple, and if Vol- 


taire's writings 'were vile, then was his offense doubled 
in that he vitalized a ravenous brood of scribblers. 
They played Caliban to his Setebos. 
Voltaire's most offensive contributions were always 
attributed by him to this bishop or that, and to various 
dignitaries who had no existence save in the figment 
of his own fertile pigment. 

He once carried on a controversy between the Bishop 
of Berlin and the Archbishop of Paris, each man thun- 
dering against the other with a monthly pamphlet 
wherein each one gored the other without mercy, and 
revealed the senselessness of the other's religion. They 
flung the literary stink-pot with great accuracy. ''The 
other man's superstition is always ridiculous to us 
our own is sacred," said Voltaire, and so he allowed 
his controversialists to fight it out for his own quiet 
joy, and the edification of the onlookers. 
Then his plan of printing an alleged sermon, giving 
some unknown prelate due credit on the title-page, 
starting in with a pious text and a page of trite nothings 
and gradually drifting off into ridicule of the things he 
had started in to defend all this gives a comic tinge 
to his wail that " some evil-minded person is attrib- 
uting things to me I never wrote." If an occasional 
sly Churchman got after him with his own weapon, 
writing things in his style more hazardous than he 
dare express, surely he should not have complained. 
Q But this was a fact the enemy could not follow 
him long with a literary fusillade they had n't the 


mental ammunition. Q Well has Voltaire been called 
"the father of all those who wear shovel-hats." 

A FEW months in the Bastille, and Voltaire's 
indeterminate sentence was commuted to exile. 
He was allowed to leave his country for his 
country's good. Early in the year 1726 he landed in 
England, evidently knowing nobody there excepting 
one merchant, a man of no special prominence. 
Voltaire belonged to the nobility by divine right 
as much so as did Disraeli. Both had an inward 
contempt for titles, but they knew the hearts of the 
owners so well that they simply played a game of 
chess, and the "men" they moved were live knights, 
bishops, kings and queens, with rollers under the 
castles. The pawns they pushed here and there, were 
the literary puppets of the time. 

The first thing Voltaire had to master in England was 
the language, and this he did passably inside of three 
months. He took Grub Street by storm ; dawdled at 
Dodsley's; met Dean Swift, and these worthies re- 
spected each other's wit so much that they simply took 
snuff, grimaced and let it go at that ; Pope came in for 
a visit, and the French poet crossed Twickenham ferry 
and offered a hand-made sonnet in admiration of the 
" Essay on Man," which he had probably never read. 
Gay gave Voltaire "The Beggar's Opera," in private, 
and together they called on Congreve, who interrupted 


the Frenchman's flow of flattery long enough to say 
that he wished to be looked on as a gentleman, not a 
poet. And Voltaire replied that there were many 
gentlemen but few poets, and if Congreve had had the 
misfortune to be simply a gentleman he would not 
have troubled to call on him at all. Congreve, who 
really regarded himself as the peer of Shakespeare, 
was won, and sent Voltaire on his way with letters to 
Horace Walpole of Strawberry Hill. Thomson, who 
lived at Hammersmith, and wrote his " Seasons" in a 
"public" next door to Kelmscott, corrected & revised 
some of Voltaire's attempts at English poetry. Young 
evolved some of his "Night Thoughts" while on a 
visit with Voltaire at Bubb Dodington's. 
A call on the Duchess of Marlborough led to a dinner 
at Lord Chesterfield's. Next he met Queen Caroline 
and assured her that she spoke French like a Parisian. 
King George II. quite liked Voltaire because Voltaire 
quite liked Lady Sandon, his mistress. Only a French- 
man could have successfully paid court to the King, 
Queen and Lady Sandon at the same time, as Voltaire 
did. His great epic poem, " Henriade," that he had 
been sand-papering for ten years, was now published, 
dedicated to the Queen. The King headed the sub- 
scription list with more copies than he needed, at five 
guineas each, on agreement, Voltaire afterward said, 
that he would not be expected to read the poem. The 
Queen's good offices were utilized, she became for 
the time a royal book agent, and her signature and the 


author's adorned all de luxe copies. A suggestion from 
the Queen was equal to an order, and the edition was 
soon -worked off. 

Voltaire now spent three years in England. He had 
written his "Life of Charles XII," several plays, an 
"English Note Book," and best of all, had gotten 
together a thousand pounds good money as proceeds 
of "Henriade," a stiff and stilted piece of pedantic 
bombast, written -with sweat and lamp smoke. 
The "Letters on the English" were published a few 
years later in Paris with good results, considering it 
was only a by-product. It is a deal better natured than 
Dickens' "American Note Book," and had more 
humor than Emerson's "English Traits." Among 
other things quite Voltairesque in the "Letters' is 
this: " The Anglican Church has retained many of the 
good old Catholic customs not the least of which is 
the collecting of tithes with great regularity." 

THE priestly habit of Voltaire's life manifested 
itself even to the sharp collecting from the 
world all that the world owed him. 
The snug little sum he had secured in England would 
have shown his ability, but there was something better 
in store, awaiting his return to France. It seems the 
Controller of Finance had organized a lottery to help 
pay the interest on the public debt. A considerable 
sum of money had been realized, but there were still a 


large number of tickets unsold, and the drawing was 
soon to take place. Voltaire knew the officials who had 
the matter in charge and they knew him. He organized 
a syndicate that would take all tickets there were left, 
on guarantee that among the tickets purchased would 
be the one that called for the principal prize of forty 
thousand pounds. Just how it was known in advance 
what ticket would win must be left to those good people 
who understand these little things in detail. In any 
event, Voltaire put in every sou he had and his little 
fortune was then a matter of about ten thousand dol- 
lars. Several of his friends contributed a like sum. 
QThe drawing took place, and the prize of forty thou- 
sand pounds was theirs. It is said that Voltaire took 
twenty-five thousand pounds as his share, the whole 
scheme was his anyway, & his friends were quite sat- 
isfied with having doubled their money in a fortnight. 
C Immediately on securing this money, Voltaire pre- 
sented himself at the office of the President of 
Accounts, and asked for the legacy left him by his 
father. As proof of his financial ability, and as a 
guarantee of good faith, he opened a hand-satchel and 
piled on the President's table a small mountain of gold 
and bank notes. The first question of the astonished 
official was, "Will M. de Voltaire have the supreme 
goodness to explain where he stole all this money?" 
CfThis was soon followed by an apology, as the visitor 
explained the reason of his visit. 
The father's legacy amounted to nearly four thousand 


pounds, and this was at once paid over to Voltaire 
with a flattering letter expressing perfect faith in his 
ability to manage his own finances. 
There is a popular opinion that Voltaire made con- 
siderable money by his pen, but the fact is, that at no 
period of his life did literature contribute in but a very 
scanty way to his prosperity. 

After the lottery scheme, Voltaire embarked in grain 
speculations, importing wheat from Barbary for French 
consumption. In this he made a fair profit, but when 
war broke out between Italy and France, he entered 
into an arrangement with Duverney, who had the 
army commissariat in his hands, to provision the 
troops. It was not much of a war, but it lasted long 
enough, as most wars do, for a few contractors to make 
much moneys. The war spirit is usually fanned by 
financiers, Kuhn, Loeb & Co. giving the ultimatum. 
Q Voltaire cleared about twenty thousand pounds out 
of his provision contract. 

Thus we find this thrifty poet at forty with a fortune 
equal to a half million dollars. This money he loaned 
out in a way of his own a way as original as his 
literary style. His knowledge of the upper circles again 
served him well. Among the proud scions of nobility 
there were always a few who, through gambling pro- 
clivities, and other royal qualities, were much in need 
of funds. Voltaire picked the men who had only a life 
interest in their estates, and made them loans, secured 
by the rentals. The loans were to be paid back in 


annuities as long as both men lived. Q All insurance is 
a species of gambling the company offers to make 
you a bet that your house will burn within a year. 
In life insurance, the company's expert looks you over, 
and if your waist measurement is not too great for your 
height, a bargain is entered into wherein you agree to 
pay so much now, and so much every year as long as 
you live, in consideration that the company will pay 
your heirs so much at your death. 

The chief value of life insurance lies in the fact that it 
insures a man against his own indiscretion, a thing 
supposedly under his own control but which never 
is. Voltaire's scheme banked on the man's weakness, 
and laid his indiscretion open before the world. It was 
life insurance turned wrong side out, and could only 
have been devised and carried out by a man of courage 
with an actuary's keen bias for mathematics. 
Instead of agreeing to pay the man so much at death, 
Voltaire paid him the whole sum in advance, and the 
man agreed to pay, say, ten per cent interest until 
either the lender or borrower died. No principal was 
to be paid, and on the death of either party, the whole 
debt was canceled. 

Voltaire picked only men younger than himself. It was 
a tempting offer to the borrower, for Voltaire looked 
like a consumptive, and it is said that on occasion he 
evolved a wheezy cough that helped close the deal. 
The whole scheme, for Voltaire, was immensely suc- 
cessful. On some of the risks he collected his yearly 


ten per cent for over forty years, or until his death. 
CJOn Voltaire's loan of sixteen hundred pounds to the 
Marquis du Chatelet, however, it is known that he 
collected nothing either in way of principal or interest. 
This was as strange a piece of financiering as was ever 
consummated; and the inside history of the matter, 
with its peculiar psychology, has never been written. 
The only two persons who could have told that story 
in its completeness were Voltaire and the Madame du 
Chatelet, and neither ever did. 

VOLTAIRE was thirty-nine and Madame du 
Chatelet the divine Emilie was twenty-seven 
when they first met. He was living in obscure 
lodgings in Paris, for prudential reasons, the execu- 
tioner having just burned, in the public street, all 
the copies of his last book that could be found. 
The Madame called on him to express her sympathy 
and congratulations. She had written a book, but it 
had not been burned not even read ! She was tall, 
thin, angular, far from handsome, but had beaming 
eyes and a face that tokened intellect. And best of all, 
her voice was low, finely modulated, and was not 
exercised more than was meet. 

She leaned her chin upon her hand and looked at him. 
Q She had met Voltaire when she was a child at 
least she said so, and he, being a gentleman, remem- 
bered perfectly. She read to him a little manuscript she 


had just dashed off. It -was deep, profound and full of 
reasons that is the way learned women write they 
write like professors of rhetoric. Really great men 
write lightly, suggestively, and with a certain amount 
of indifference, dash, froth and foam. When women 
evolve literary foam, it is the sweet, cloying, fixed 
foam of the charlotte russe not the bubbling, efferves- 
cent Voltaire article. 

Could M. de Voltaire suggest a way in which her 
manuscript might be lightened up so the public execu- 
tioner would deign to notice it ? 

M. de Voltaire responded by reading to her a little 
thing of his own. 
The next day she called again. 

Some say that Madame called on Voltaire to secure a 
loan on her husband's estate at Civey. No matter she 
got the loan. 

Doubtless she did not know where she was going 
none of us do. We are all sailing under sealed orders. 
QThe Madame had been married eight years. She 
was versed in Latin and knew Italian literature. She 
was educated ; Voltaire was not. She offered to teach 
him Italian if he would give her lessons in English. 
QThey read to each other things they had recently 
^written. When men and women read to each other 
and mingle their emotions, the danger line is being 
reached. Literary people of the opposite sex do not 
really love each other. All they desire is to read their 
manuscript aloud to a receptive listener. 


Thus are the literary germs vitalized by giving our 
thoughts to another we really make them our own. 
Only well-sexed people produce literature poetry is 
the pollen of the mind. Meter, rhythm, lilt and style are 
stamen, pistil and stalk swaying in the warm breeze of 

An order for arrest was out for Voltaire. Pamphlets 
which he had been refused permission to publish in 
Paris were printed at Rouen and were setting all Paris 
by the ears. 

With Madame du Chatelet he fled to Civey, where 
was the tumble-down chateau of the Marquis the 
Madame's complaisant husband. Voltaire advanced 
the Marquis sixteen hundred pounds to put the place 
in order, and then on his own account fitted up two 
sumptuous apartments, one for himself and one for 

The Marquis went away with his regiment, and oc- 
casionally came back and lounged about the chateau. 
But Voltaire was the real master of the place. 
Voltaire was neither domestic nor rural in his tastes, 
but the du Chatelet seemed to fill his cup to the brim, 
and made him enjoy what otherwise would have been 
exile. He wrote incessantly poems, essays, plays, 
and fired pamphlets at a world of fools. 
All that he wrote during the day he read to Madame 
at night. One of her maids has given us a vivid little 
picture of how Voltaire, at exactly eleven o'clock each 
night, would come out of hiding, and entering the 


Madame's room, 'would partake of the dainty supper that 
was always prepared for him. The divine Ernilie had 
the French habit of receiving her visitors in bed, and 
as her hours were much more regular than Voltaire's 
she usually enjoyed a nap before he entered. After his 
supper he would read aloud to her all he had written 
since they last met. If the piece was dramatic he 
would act it out with roll of r's, striding walk, grimace 
and gesticulations gracefully done in Gallic, for the 
man was an actor of rare talent. 

Emerson says: "Let a man do a thing incomparably 
well, and the world will make a path to his door, 
though he live in a forest." There was no lack of 
society at Civey the writers, poets and philosophers 
found their way there. Voltaire fitted up a little private 
theatre where his plays were given, and concerts and 
lectures held from time to time. 

The divine Emilie's forte was science & mathematics 
and on these themes she wrote much, competing for 
prizes and winning the recognition of various learned 
societies. It will be seen that the man and woman 
were not in competition with each other, which, per- 
haps, accounts, in degree, for their firm friendship. 
Yet they did quarrel, too, as true lovers will, I am 
told. But their quarreling was all done in English, so 
the servants and His Inertia, the Marquis, did not 
know the purpose of it. It is probable that the accounts 
of their misunderstandings are considerably exagger- 
ated, as the rehearsal of a tragedy by this pair of 


histrions would be taken by the servants for a sure- 
enough fight. 

And they were always acting often beginning break- 
fast with a " stunt." The Madame sang well and her 
little impromptu arias pleased her thin little lover im- 
mensely and he would improvise and answer in kind, 
and then take the part of an audience and applaud, 
calling loudly, " bravo, bravo ! ' 

Mornings they would ride horseback through the 
winding woods, or else hunt for geological and botani- 
cal specimens. About all of Voltaire's science he got 
from the lady and this was true of languages as well. 
Q[ To a nervous, irritable and intense thinker a certain 
amount of solitude seems necessary. Voltaire occa- 
sionally grew weary of the delicious quiet of Civey, 
and the indictment against him having been quashed, 
he would go away to Paris or elsewhere. On these 
trips if he did not take Madame along she would grow 
furious, then lachrymose and finally submissive with 
a weepy protest. If he failed to write her daily she 
grew hysterical. Two winters they spent together in 
Paris and another at Brussels. 

A lawsuit involving the estate of the Marquis du 
Chatelet, that had been in the courts for eighty years, 
was pushed to a successful issue by Voltaire and 
Madame. Four hundred and fifty thousand dollars 
were secured, but of this Voltaire, strangely enough, 
took nothing. 
That the bond between Emilie and Voltaire was very 


firm, is shown that after they had been together ten 
years, he declined to leave her to accept an invitation to 
visit Frederick the Great at Berlin. Frederick was a 
married man, but his was a strictly bachelor court 
for prudential reasons. Frederick and Emilie had car- 
ried on a spirited correspondence, but this was as close 
as he cared for her to come to him. All of his commu- 
nications with females were limited to letters, and 
Voltaire once said that that was the reason he was 
called Frederick the Great. 

Madame du Chatelet died when she was forty-two ; 
Voltaire was fifty-five. For fifteen years this strange 
and most romantic friendship had continued, and to a 
degree it had worn itself out. Toward the last the lady 
had been exacting and dictatorial, and thinking that 
Voltaire had slighted her by not taking her more into 
his confidence, she had accepted another lover, a man 
ten years her junior. If she had thought to make Vol- 
taire jealous, she had reckoned without her host he 
was relieved to find her fierce supervision relaxed. 
Q When she passed away he worked his woe up into 
a pretty panegyric, closed up his affairs at Civey, and 
left there forever. 

SO far as the government was concerned, Voltaire 
seems to have passed his days in accepting re- 
wards and receiving punishments. Interdict, 
exile, ostracism were followed by honors, pension and 


office. Q His one lasting love was the drama. About 
every two years a swirl of excitement was caused at 
Paris by the announcement of a new play by Voltaire. 
These plays seemed to appeal mostly to the nobility, 
the clergy and those in public office. And the object in 
every instance was to get even with somebody, and 
place some one in a ridiculous light. Innocent historical 
dramas were passed by the censor, and afterward it 
was found that in them some local bigwig was flayed 
without mercy. Then the play had to be withdrawn, 
and all printed copies were burned in public, and 
Voltaire would flee to Brussels or Geneva to escape 
summary punishment. 

However, he never fooled all of the people all of the 
time. There were always a goodly number of digni- 
taries who richly enjoyed the drubbing he gave the 
other fellow, and these would gloat in inward glee over 
the Voltaire ribaldry until it came their turn. Then the 
other side would laugh. The fact is, Voltaire always 
represented a constituency, otherwise his punishment 
might have been genuine, instead of forty lashes with 
a feather, well laid on. 

About the time Madame du Chatelet passed away, 
Voltaire seemed to be enjoying a period of kingly favor. 
He had been made a Knight of the Bedchamber 
and also Historiographer of France. The chief duty of 
the first office consisted in signing the monthly voucher 
for salary, and the other was about the same as Poet 
Laureate with salary in inverse ratio to responsibility. 


It was considered, however, that the holder of these 
offices was one of the King's family, and therefore was 
bound to indulge in no unseemly antics. 
On June 26th, 1750, Voltaire applied to the King in 
person for permission to visit Frederick of Prussia. 
Q Tradition has it that the King replied promptly, " You 
may go the sooner the better and you may remain 
as long as you choose." 

Voltaire pocketed the veiled acerbity without a word, 
and bowing himself out, made hot haste to pack up and 
be on his way before an order rescinding the per- 
mission was issued. 

Frederick was a freethinker, a scientist, a poet, and a 
wit well worthy of the companionship of Voltaire. In 
fact, they were very much alike. Both had the dual 
qualities of being intensely practical and yet icono- 
clastic. Both were witty, affable, seemingly indifferent 
and careless, but yet always with an eye on the main 
chance. Each was small, thin and bony, but both had 
the intellect of the lean and hungry Cassius that looked 
quite through the deeds of man. 

Frederick received Voltaire with royal honors. Princes, 
ministers of state, grandees and generals high in office, 
knelt on one knee as he passed. Frederick tried to make 
it appear that France had failed to appreciate her 
greatest philosopher, and so he had come to Prussia 
the home of letters. His pension was fixed at twenty 
thousand francs a year, he was given the Golden Key 
of Chamberlain, and the Grand Cross of the Order of 


Merit. He was a member of the King's household, and 
was the nearest and dearest friend of the royal person. 
Q Frederick thought he had bound the great man to 
him for life. 

Personality repels as well as attracts. Voltaire's viper- 
like pen was never idle. He wrote little plays for the 
court, and these were presented with much eclat, the 
author superintending their presentation, and consid- 
erately taking minor parts himself, so to divide the 
honors. But amateur theatricals stand for heart-burn- 
ings and jealousy. The German poets were scored, 
other writers ridiculed, and big scientists came in for 
their share of pen-pricking. 

Voltaire corrected the King's manuscript and taught 
him the secret of literary style. Then they fell into a 
controversy, done in Caslon old-style, thundering 
against each other's theories in pamphlets across seas 
of misunderstandings. Neither side publicly avowed 
the authorship, but nobody was deceived. The King 
and Voltaire met daily at meals, and carefully avoided 
the topics they were fighting out in print. 
Voltaire was rich and all of his wants were supplied, 
but he entered the financial lists, and taking advantage 
of his inside knowledge, speculated in scrip and got 
into a disgraceful lawsuit over the proceeds with a man 
he should never have known. Frederick was annoyed 
then disturbed. He personally chided Voltaire for his 
folly in mixing with the King's enemies. 
Voltaire had tired of the benevolent assimilation he 


craved freedom. A friend who loves you, if he spies 
upon your every action, will become intolerable. Vol- 
taire intimated to Frederick that he would like to go. 
Q But Frederick had a great admiration for the man 
he considered Voltaire the greatest living thinker, and 
to have such a one in the court would help give the 
place an atmosphere of learning. He recognized that 
there were two Voltaires one covetous, quibbling, 
spiteful and greedy ; and the other the peerless poet and 
philosopher the man who hated shams and pretence, 
and had made a brave fight for liberty; the charming 
companion, the gracious friend. Frederick was philoso- 
pher enough to realize that he could not have the one 
without the other if he had the angel he must also 
tolerate the demon. This he would do he must have 
his Voltaire, and so he refused the passports asked for, 
and sought to interest his literary lion in new projects. 
Finally, court life became intolerable to Voltaire, as 
life is to anybody when he realizes that he is being de- 
tained against his will. Voltaire packed his effects, se- 
cured a four-horse carriage, and with his secretary, 
departed by night, without leaving orders where his 
mail should be forwarded. 

When Frederick found that his singing bird had flown, 
he was furious. Fear had much to do with the matter, 
for Voltaire had taken various manuscripts written by 
the King, wherein potentates in high places were se- 
verely scored. The first thought of Frederick evidently 
was that Voltaire had really been a spy in the employ 


of the French government. He sent messengers after 
him in hot haste the fugitive was overtaken, and ar- 
rested. His luggage was searched, and after being de- 
tained at Frankfort for three weeks he was allowed to 
depart for pastures new. 

The news of his flight, arrest and disgrace became the 
gossip of every court of Christendom. Who was dis- 
graced more by the arrest Voltaire or Frederick the 
world has not yet decided. Carlyle deals with the sub- 
ject in detail in his " Life of Frederick," and exonerates 
the King. But Taine says Carlyle wrote neither history 
nor poetry, and certainly we do not consider the sage 
of Cheyne Row an impartial judge. 

Voltaire took time to cool, and then wrote a history of 
the affair which is published in his " My Private Life," 
that is one of the most delicious pieces of humor ever 
written. That he should have looked forward to life at 


the Prussian Court as the ideal, and then after bravely 
enduring it for three years, make his escape by night, 
was only a huge joke. Nothing else could have been 
expected, he says. Men of fifty should know that en- 
vironment does not make heaven, and people who 
expect other people to make paradise for them, are 
forever doomed to wander without the walls. 
Voltaire acknowledges that he got better treatment 
than he deserved, and makes no apology for working 
the whole affair up into good copy. The final proof that 
Voltaire was a true philosopher is that he was able to 
laugh at himself. 


WHEN Voltaire left Prussia, it was voluntary 
exile. Paris was forbidden all of France 
was for him unsafe ; England he had hope- 
lessly offended. By slow stages he made his way to 
Switzerland. But on the way there his courage failed 
him and he wrote back to Frederick, suggesting recon- 
ciliation. But Frederick promptly reminded him that 
he had repeatedly broken promises by writing about 
Frederick's personal friends, and " Voltaire and Fred- 
erick had better keep apart, that their love for each 
other might not grow cold " a subtle bit of sarcasm. 
At Geneva, where Calvin had instituted a little tyranny 
of his own, Voltaire was made welcome. Nominally no 
Catholics were allowed in Geneva, and when Voltaire 
wrote to the authorities, explaining that he was a good 
Catholic, the matter was taken as a great joke. He 
bought a beautiful little farm a few miles away, on the 
banks of the river Rhone, overlooking the city of Ge- 
neva and the lake. It was an ideal spot, and rightly he 
called it " Delices." Here he was going to end his days 
amid flowers and birds & books and bees, an onlooker 
and possibly a commentator on the times, but not a 
doer. His days of work were over. Of the world of 
strife he had had enough thus he wrote to Frederick. 
Q Visitors of a literary turn of mind at Geneva began 
to come his way. He established an inn, and later built 
a theatre out of the ruins of an old church that he had 
bought and dismantled. " This is what I am going to 
do with all the churches in France," he explained 


with a smile. Q His pen was never idle. He wrote plays 
that were presented at his own little theatre, and on 
such occasions he would send word to his Geneva 
friends not to come, as they could not be accommodated. 
Of course they came. 

He wrote a history of Peter the Great, and this brought 
him into communication with Queen Catherine of Rus- 
sia, with whom he carried on quite an animated corre- 
spondence. This worthy widow invited him to St. 
Petersburg, & he slyly wrote to Frederick for advice as 
to whether he should go or not. It is said that Fred- 
erick advised him to go, pay court to the Queen, marry 
her, seize the throne, and get his head cut off for his 
pains, thus achieving immortality and benefiting the 
world at one stroke. 

Voltaire had no intention of going to St. Petersburg; 
he had created a little Court of Letters, of which he 
himself 'was the Czar, and for the first time in his life 
he was experiencing a degree of genuine content. His 
flowers, bees, manuscripts and theatre filled every 
moment of the day from six in the morning until ten 
at night. He had arrived in Switzerland broken in 
health, with mind dazed, his frail body undone. There 
at the little farm at Delices, overlooking the lake, health 
came back and youth seemed to return to this man of 
three score. 

Some of the nobility in Paris, to whom he had loaned 
money, took advantage of his exile to withhold pay- 
ments, but Voltaire secured an agent to look after his 


affairs, so his losses were not great. Q He bought the 
tumble-down chateau of Tournay, near at hand, w^hich 
carried with it the right to call himself Count Tournay. 
Frederick, with mock respect, so addressed his letters. 
Q His next financial venture, begun when he was 
sixty-eight, might well have tested the strength of a 
much younger man. A few miles from Geneva, at Fer- 
ney, just over the border from Switzerland, Voltaire 
had bought a large tract of waste land, intending to use 
it for pasturage. Here he built a cottage and lived a 
part of the time when visitors were too persistent at 
Delices. Ferney was on French soil, Delices in Switz- 
erland. Voltaire had criticized the Protestants of 
Geneva, and given it as his opinion that a Calvinistic 
tyranny was in no wise preferable to one built on 
Catholicism. Some then said: "This man is really 
what he professes a Catholic." There had also been 
a demonstration to drive him out of Switzerland, since 
it was pretty well known that Voltaire's crowds of 
visitors were neither Catholic nor Protestant. " Delices 
is infidelic," was the cry, and this doubtless had some- 
thing to do with Voltaire establishing himself at Ferney. 
If Protestant Switzerland drove this Catholic over to 
France, why, Catholic France would not molest him. 
Every country, no matter how tyrannical its govern- 
ment, prides itself on being the home of the exile, just 
as every man thinks of himself as being sincere and 
without prejudice. 
It is now believed that Voltaire had much to do with 


inciting the civil riots in Geneva against the Catholics. 
He had circulated pamphlets purporting to be written 
by a Catholic, upholding the Pope, and ridiculing most 
unmercifully the pretences of Protestantism, declaring 
it a compromise with the devil, made up of the scum 
of the Catholic Church. This pamphlet declared Calvin 
a monster, and arraigned him for burning Servetus, and 
hinted that all Calvinists would soon be paid back in 
their own coin. No one else could have penned this 
vitriolic pamphlet but Voltaire he knew both sides. 
But since Geneva regarded Voltaire as an infidel, it 
never occurred to the authorities that he would take 
up the cudgel of the Catholic Church that had burned 
his books. The real fact was, the pamphlet was n't a 
defense of Catholicism it was only a drubbing of 
Calvinism, and the wit was too subtle for the Presby- 
terians to digest. 

Very soon another pamphlet appeared, answering the 
first. It arraigned the Catholics in scathing phrase, 
suggested that they were getting ready to burn the city 
hinted at a repetition of St. Bartholomew, and de- 
clared the order had gone forth from Rome to scourge 
and kill. It was as choice an A. P. A. document as was 
ever issued by a relentless joker. The result was that 
the workers in the watch factory and silk mills who 
were Catholics found themselves ostracized by the 
Protestant workmen. I do not find that the authorities 
drove the Catholics out of Geneva, it was simply a 
species of labor trouble Protestants would not work 


with Catholics. Q At this juncture Voltaire comes in, 
and invites all persecuted Catholic watch-workers and 
silk-weavers to move to Ferney. Here Voltaire laid out 
a town erected houses, factories, churches & schools. 
In two years he had built up a town of twelve hundred 
people, and had a watch factory and silk mill in full 
and paying operation. 

The problem of every manufacturer is to sell his wares 
Voltaire knew how to release purse-strings of friends 
and enemies alike. He sent watches to all of his ene- 
mies in Paris, bishops, priests and potentates, explain- 
ing that he had quit literature forever, and was now 
engaged in helping struggling, exiled Catholics to get an 
honest living he was doing penance as foreman of a 
watch factory would the Most Reverend not help in 
this worthy work ? Money flowed in on Ferney Fred- 
erick ordered a consignment of watches, Queen Cath- 
erine did the same, and the Bishop of Paris sent his 
blessing and an order for enough silk to keep Voltaire's 
factory going for six months. 

Voltaire really got the pick of the workmen of Geneva 
the goods made were of the best, and while at first 
Catholics only were employed, yet in five years Ferney 
was quite as much Protestant as Catholic. Voltaire 
respected the religious beliefs of his workmen, and 
there was liberty for all. He paid better wages and 
treated his workers better than they had ever been 
treated in Geneva. Voltaire built houses for his people 
and allowed them to pay him in monthly installments. 


And not only did he himself make much money out of 
his Ferney investment, but he established the town 
upon such a safe financial basis that its prosperity en- 
dures even unto this day. 

~ ~ iQgtf/' 


IT was at Ferney, in his old age, that Voltaire first 
made open war upon " revealed religion." All re- 
ligions that professed a miraculous origin were to 
him baneful in the extreme, the foes of light and prog- 
ress, the enemies of mankind. He did not perceive, 
as modern psychology does, that the period of super- 
naturalism is the childhood of the mind. Myths and 
fairy tales are not of themselves base the injury lies 
with the men who seek to profit by these things, and 
build up a tyranny founded on innocence and ignorance 
seeking to perpetuate these things, issuing threats 
against growth, and offers of reward to all who stand 
still & & 

Voltaire called superstition "The Infamy," and he 
summoned the thinkers of the world to crush it be- 
neath a heel of scorn. Letters, pamphlets, plays, essays 
were sent out in various languages, by his own print- 
ing presses. The wit of the man his scathing mockery 
were weapons no one could wield in reply. The 
priests and preachers did not answer him they could 
not they only grew purple with wrath and hissed. 
Q Says Victor Hugo: "Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled." 
To which Bernard Shaw has recently rejoined : "Jesus 


wept; Voltaire smiled; William Morris worked." 
Q From the prosperity, peace and security of Ferney, 
Voltaire pointed a bony finger at every hypocrite in 
Christendom, and laughed his mocking smile. The 
man expressed himself, and happiness lies in that 
and nothing else. Misery comes from lack of full, free 
self-expression, and from nothing else. The man who 
fights for freedom, fights for the right of self-expression 
for himself and others and immortality lies in nothing 
else & *T 

There is no fight worth making no struggle worth the 
while save the struggle for freedom. 
No name is honored among men no name lives save 
the name of the man who worked for liberty and light 
who has fought freedom's fight. 

Run the list in your mind of the names that are im- 
mortal, and you will recall only those of men who have 
widened the horizon for other men, and that select 
number who are remembered in infamy because they 
linked their names with greatness by doubting, deny- 
ing, betraying and persecuting it deathless through 

Voltaire sided with the weak, the defenseless, the 
fallen. He demanded that men should not be hounded 
for their belief, that they should not be arrested with- 
out cause and without knowing why, and without 
letting their friends know why. We realize his faults, 
we know his imperfections and limitations, yet, through 
his influence, life throughout the world became safer, 



liberty dearer, freedom a more sacred thing. His words 
were a battery that eventually razed the walls of the 
Bastille, and best of all, freed countless millions from 
theological superstition, that Bastille of the brain. 




By Elbert Hubbard FOR 1904 




t Socrates 7 Immanuel Kant 

* Seneca 8 Hugimte Comte 

3 Hrietotle 9 Voltaire 

4 JMamrn Hureliue i o Rerbert Spencer 
5 Spinoza 1 i Schopenhauer 
6 Swedenborg i ^ Benry Choreau 

One booklet a month will be issued as usual, beginning Jan- 
uary First. The LITTLE JOURNEYS for Nineteen Hun- 
dred Four will be strictly de luxe in form and workmanship. 
The type will be a new font of antique blackface ; the initials, 
borders and bands designed especially for this work; a 
frontispiece portrait from the original drawing made at our 
Shop. The booklets will be stitched by hand with silk *^ 

The price Twenty-five cents each, or $3.00 a year 

Address THE ROYCROFTERS at their Shop, 
which is at East Aurora, Erie County, New York 

Entered at the postoffice at East Aurora, New York, for transmission as 
second-class mail matter. Copyright, 1903, by Elbert Hubbard 







WHAT knowledge is of most worth? The uniform reply is: 
Science. This is the verdict on all counts. For direct self- 
preservation, or the maintenance of life and health, the all-important 
knowledge is science. For that indirect self-preservation which we 
call gaining a livelihood, the knowledge of greatest value is science. 
For the discharge of parental functions, the proper guidance is to be 
found only in science. For the interpretation of national life, past and 
present, without which the citizen cannot rightly regulate his con- 
duct, the indispensable key is science. Alike for the most perfect 
production and present enjoyment of art in all its forms, the needful 
preparation is still science. And for purposes of discipline intel- 
lectual, moral, religious, the most efficient study is, once more 
science. Essay on EDUCATION. 

'. L 


J I e r "b e r t S p e n c e r 


IN Derby, England, April 27th, 1820, 
Herbert Spencer, the only child of his 
parents, 'was born. His mother died in 
his childhood, so he really never had 
any vivid recollection of her, but hear- 
say, fused with memory and ideality, 
vitalized all. And thus to him, to the 
day of his death, his mother stood for 
gentleness, patience, tenderness, in- 
tuitive insight, and a love that never 
grew faint. Man makes his mother in 
his own image. 

Herbert Spencer's father was a school- 
teacher, and in very moderate circum- 
stances. Little Herbert could not re- 
member when he did not go to school, 
and yet as a real scholar, he never 
went to school at all. The family lived 
over the schoolroom, and while the 
youngster yet wore dresses his father 
would hold him in his arms, and carry 
him around the room as he instructed 
his classes. William George Spencer 
was both father and mother to Herbert, 
and used to sing to him lullabies as the 
sun went down. 

After school there were always walks 
a-field, and in the evening the brother 
of the schoolmaster would call, and 


then there was much argument as to Why and What, 
Whence and Whither. 

People talk gossip, we are told, for lack of a worthy 
theme. These two Spencers one a schoolmaster and 
the other a clergyman found the time too short for 
their discussions. In their walks and talks they were 
always examining, comparing, classifying, selecting, 
speculating. Flowers, plants, bugs, beetles, birds, trees, 
weeds, earth and rocks were scrutinized and analyzed. 
G[ Where did it come from ? How did it get here? 
I am told that lions never send their cubs away to be 
educated by a cubless lioness and an emasculated lion. 
The lion learns by first playing at the thing and then 
doing it. 

A motherless boy, brought up by an indulgent father, 
one might prophesy, would be sure to rule the father 
and be spoiled himself through omission of the rod. 
But in the boy problem all signs fail. The father taught 
by exciting curiosity and animating his pupils to work 
out problems and make discoveries keeping his disci- 
pline well out of sight. How well the plan worked is 
revealed in the life of Herbert Spencer himself; and his 
book, " Education," is based on the ideas evolved by 
his father, to whom he gives much credit. No man 
ever had so divine a right to compile a book on educa- 
tion as Herbert Spencer, for he proved in his own life 
every principle he laid down. 

On all excursions Herbert was taken along because 
he could n't be left at home, you know. He listened 


to the conversations and learned by hearing the older 
pupils recite. 

All out-of-doors was fairy-land to him a curiosity- 
shop filled "with wonderful things over your head, 
under your feet, all around was life action, pulsing 
life, everything in motion going somewhere, evolving 
into something else. 

This habit of observation, adoration and wonder, 
filled with pleasurable emotions and recollections from 
the first lasted the man through life, and allowed him, 
even with a frail constitution, to round out a long 
period of severe mental work, with never a tendency 
to die at the top. 

Herbert Spencer never wrote a thing more true than 
this : " The man to whom in boyhood information came 
in dreary tasks, along with threats of punishment, is 
unlikely to be a student in after years ; while those to 
whom it came in natural forms, at the proper times, & 
who remember its facts as not only interesting in 
themselves, but as a long series of gratifying successes, 
are likely to continue through life that self-instruction 
begun in youth." 

When thirteen years old Herbert went to live with his 
uncle, the Rev. Thomas Spencer, at Bath. Here the 
same methods of education were continued that had 
been begun at home conversation, history in the form 
of story-telling, walks and talks, and mathematical 
calculations carried out as pleasing puzzles. In mathe- 
matics the boy made rapid progress, but the faculty of 


observation was the dominant one. Every phase oi 
cloud and sky, of water and earth, rock and mountain, 
bird and bush, plant and tree was curious to him. He 
kept a journal of his observations, which had the double 
advantage of deepening his impressions by recounting 
them, and second, it taught him the use of language. 
QThe best way to learn to -write is to write. Herbert 
Spencer never studied grammar until he had learned to 
write. He took his grammar at sixty, which is a good 
age to begin this interesting study, as by that time you 
have largely lost your capacity to sin. Men who swim 
exceedingly well are not those who have taken courses 
in the theory of swimming at natatoriums from pro- 
fessors of the amphibian art they -were boys who just 
jumped in. Correspondence schools for the taming of 
bronchos are as naught ; and treatises on the gentle art 
of wooing are of no avail follow nature's lead. Gram- 
mar is the appendenda vermiformis of pedagogics : it is 
as useless as the letter q in the alphabet, or as the pro- 
verbial two tails to a cat, which no cat ever had, and 
the finest cat in the world, the Manx cat, has no tail 
at all. 

" The literary style of most university men is common- 
place, when not positively bad," wrote Herbert Spen- 
cer in his old age. "Educated Englishmen all write 
alike," said Taine. That is to say, they have no literary 
style, for style is character, individuality the style is 
the man. And grammar tends to obliterate all individ- 
uality. No study is so irksome to everybody, excepting; 


the sciolists who teach it, as grammar. It remains for- 
ever a bad taste in the mouth of the man of ideas, and 
has weaned bright minds innumerable from all desire 
to express themselves through the written word. 
Grammar is the etiquette of words, and the man who 
does not know how to properly salute his grandmother 
on the street until he has consulted a book, is always 
so troubled about his tenses that his fancies break 
through language and escape. 

Orators who keep their thoughts upon the proper way 
to gesticulate in curves, impress nobody. If poor 
grammar were a sin against decency, or an attempt to 
poison the minds of the people, it might be wise enough 
to hire men to protect the well of English from defile- 
ment. But a stationary language is a dead one moving 
water only is pure and the well that is not fed by 
springs is a breeding-place for disease. Let men ex- 
press themselves in their own way, and if they express 
themselves poorly, look you, their punishment shall be 
that no one will read them. Oblivion, with her smother- 
blanket, waits for the writer who has nothing to say 
and says it faultlessly. In the making of hare soup, I 
am told the first requisite is to catch your hare. The 
literary scullion who has anything to offer a hungry 
world will doubtless find a way to fricassee it. 

s^^stz^*./ ^s***-****^*^ 



WHEN seventeen, Herbert Spencer -was ap- 
prenticed to a surveyor on the London & 
Birmingham Railway. The pay was meagre 
board and keep and five pounds for the first year, 
with ten pounds the second year "if he deserved it." 
However, schoolteachers and clergymen are used to 
small reward, and to make a living for one's self was 
no small matter to the Spencers. The youth who has 
gotten his physical growth should earn his own living, 
this as a necessary factor in his further mental evolu- 
tion & & 

Neither William George Spencer, Herbert's father, nor 
Thomas, his uncle, seemed to ever anticipate that they 
were helping to develop the greatest thinker of his 
time. They themselves were obscure men, and quite 
happy therein, and if young Herbert could attain to a 
fair degree of physical health, make his living as an 
honest surveyor or a teacher of mathematics, it would 
be all one could reasonably hope for. And thus they 
lived out the measure of their days, and passed away 
unaware that this boy they claimed in partnership was 
to be the maker of an epoch. 

Young Spencer began his surveying work by carrying 
a flag, and soon he was advanced to " chainman." His 
skill in mathematics made his service valuable, and his 
willingness to sit up nights and work out the measure- 
ments of the day, so pleased his employer that the 
letter of the contract was waived and he was paid ten 
pounds for his first year's work, instead of five. He 


invented shorter methods for bridges and culverts, and 
I believe was the first engineer to build a cantilever 
railroad bridge in England. 

When he was twenty-one he had so thoroughly mas- 
tered the work that his employers offered to place him 
in charge of a construction gang at a salary of two 
hundred pounds a year, which was then considered 
high pay. He, however, loved liberty more than money, 
and his tastes were in the direction of invention and 
science, rather than in working out an immediate prac- 
tical success for himself. 

He returned home and invented a scheme for making 
type ; and had another plan for watchmaking, which he 
illustrated with painstaking designs. Half of his time 
was spent in the fields, and he made a large botanical 
collection indexing it carefully, with many notes and 

He also wrote articles for the "Civil Engineers' and 
Artisans' Journal." For these he received no pay, but 
the acceptance of manuscript gives a great glow to a 
writer's cosmos: young Spencer was encouraged in 
the belief that he had something to offer the public. 
But his father and kinsmen saw only failure in these 
days of dawdling; and the money being gone, Herbert 
Spencer, aged twenty-two, went up to London to try 
and get a renewal of the offer from his old employer. 
Q But things had changed chances gone are gone for- 
ever, and he was told that opportunity knocks but once 
at each man's door. Sadly he returned home not 


disappointed in himself, but depressed that he should 
disappoint others. His inventions languished nobody 
was interested in them. 

To get a living was the problem, and writing seemed 
the only way. And so he prepared a series of articles 
for " The Nonconformist," and there was enough non- 
conformity in them so he was paid a small sum for 
his work. It proved this, though he could get a living 
by his pen. 

In these "Nonconformist" articles, Spencer put forth 
a daring statement concerning the evolution of the 
soldier, that straightway made him a few enemies, and 
gave his clerical uncle gooseflesh. His hypothesis was 
this : When man first evolved out of the Stone Age, 
and began to live in villages, the oldest and wisest in- 
dividual was regarded as patriarch or chief. This chief 
appointed certain men to punish wrong-doers and keep 
order. But there were always a few who would not 
work and who, through their violence and contuma- 
cious spirit, were finally driven from the camp. Or more 
likely they fled to escape punishment which is the 
same thing for they were outcasts. These men found 
refuge in the mountain fastnesses and congregated for 
two reasons one, so they could avoid capture, and the 
other so they could swoop down and " secure their 
own." Robbery and commerce came hand in hand, and 
piracy is almost as natural as production. 
Finally, the robbers became such a problem to industry 
that terms were made with them. Their tribute took 


the form of a tax, and to make sure that this tax -was 
paid, the robbers protected the people against other 
robbers. And then, for the first time, the world saw a 
standing army. An army has two purposes to protect 
the people, and to collect the tax for protecting the 

At the headquarters of this army grew up a court, and 
all the magnificent splendor of a capitol centered 
around the captains. In fact, the word " capitol" means 
the home of the captain. 

Herbert Spencer did not say that a soldier was a re- 
spectable brigand, and that a lawyer is a man who 
protects us from lawyers, but he came so close to it 
that his immediate friends begged him to moderate his 
expressions for his own safety. 

Spencer also at the same time traced the evolution of 
the priest. He showed how the "holy man" was one 
frenzied with religious ecstasy, who went away and 
lived in a cave. Occasionally this man came back to 
beg, to preach and to do good. In order to succeed in 
his begging, he revealed his peculiar psychic powers, 
and then reinforced these with claims of supernatural 
abilities. These claims were not exactly founded upon 
truth, but once put forth, were in time believed by those 
who advanced them. 

This priest, who claimed to have influence with the 
power of the Unseen, found early favor with the sol- 
dier and the soldier and the priest naturally joined 
hands. The soldier protected the priest and the priest 


absolved the soldier. One dictated man's place in this 
world the other in the next. 

The calm way in which Herbert Spencer reasoned 
these things out, and his high literary style, which 
made him unintelligible to all those whose minds were 
not of scientific bent, and his emphatic statement that 
what is, is right, and all the steps in man's develop- 
ment mean a mounting to better things, saved him 
from the severe treatment that greeted say, Charles 
Bradlaugh, who translated the higher criticisms for 
the hoi polloi. 

Spencer's first essays on "The Proper Sphere of 
Government," done in his early twenties, for "The 
Nonconformist" and "The Economist" outlined his 
occupation for life he was to be a writer. He became 
assistant editor of the "Westminster Review," and 
contributed to various literary and scientific journals. 
Q These essays, enlarged, rewritten and revised, finally 
emerged in 1851 in the form of " Social Statics, or the 
Conditions Essential to Human Happiness." 
This book, so bold in its radical suggestions, now al- 
most universally admitted, was printed at the author's 
expense a fact that should put a quietus for all time 
upon all those indelicate and sarcastic allusions con- 
cerning "when the author prints." There was an 
edition of seven hundred and fifty copies of the book, 
and it took every shilling the young man had saved, 
and a few borrowed pounds as well, to pay the bill. 
The book made no splash in the literary sea nobody 


read it excepting a dozen good people who did so as a 
matter of friendship. 

After six years there were still five hundred copies 
left, and the author wrote this slightly ironical line : 
" I am glad the public is taking plenty of time to fully 
digest my work before passing judgment upon it. Of all 
things, hasty criticisms are to be regretted." 
Yet there was one person who read Herbert Spencer's 
first book with close consideration and profound sym- 
pathy. This was a young woman, the same age of 
Spencer, who had come up to London from the country 
to make her fortune. Her name was Mary Ann Evans. 

IN "Notes and Comments,' 1 Spencer's last book, 
published two years before his death, are several 
quotations and allusions to George Eliot. No other 
woman is mentioned in the volume. 
Herbert Spencer and Mary Ann Evans first met at the 
house of the editor of the "Westminster Review' 
about the year 1851. Their tastes, aptitudes and incli- 
nations were much the same. They were born the same 
year; both were brought up in the country; both were 
naturalists by inclination, and scientists because they 
could not help it. "Social Statics' made a profound 
impression on George Eliot, and she protested to the 
last that it was the best book the author ever wrote. 
He had read her " Essay on Spinoza," and remembered 
it so well that he repeated a page of it the first time 


they met. They loved the same things, and united, too, 
in their dislikes. Both were democrats, and the cards, 
curds and custards of society 'were to them as naught. 
In a few months after the first meeting, George Eliot 
wrote to a friend in Warwickshire, ' The bright side of 
my life, after the affection for my old friends, is the new 
and delightful friendship which I have found in Herbert 
Spencer. We see each other every day, and in every- 
thing we enjoy a delightful comradeship. If it were not 
for him my life would be singularly arid." 
The Synthetic Philosophy was taking form in Spencer's 
mind, and together they threshed out the straw and 
garnered the grain. She was getting to be a necessity 
to Spencer and he saw no reason why the beautiful 
friendship should not continue just this way for years 
and years. Both were literary grubbers and lived in 
boarding-houses of the Class B variety. 
And here George Henry Lewes appeared upon the 
scene. Legend says that Spencer introduced Lewes to 
Miss Evans, and both Miss Evans and Mr. Spencer 
were a bit in awe of him, for he was a literary success, 
and they were willing to be. Lewes had written at this 
time sixteen books novels, essays, scientific treatises, 
poems, and a drama. He spoke five languages, had 
studied medicine, theology, and had been a lecturer 
and actor. He was small, had red hair, combed his 
whiskers by the right oblique, and wore a yellow neck- 
tie. Thackeray says he was the most learned and 
versatile man he ever knew, " and if I should see him 


in Piccadilly, perched on a white elephant, I would 
not be in the least surprised." 

None of the various ventures of Lewes had paid very 
well, but he had great hopes, and money enough to ride 
in a cab. He gave advice, and radiated good-cheer 
wherever he went. 

In 1854 Lewes and Miss Evans disappeared from Lon- 
don, having gone to Germany, leaving letters behind, 
stating that thenceforward they wished to be considered 
as man and wife. Lewes was in his fortieth year, and 
slightly bald ; George Eliot was thirty-six, and there 
were silver threads among the gold. 
They had taken the philosophy of " Social Statics" in 
dead earnest. 

Herbert Spencer lost appetite, ceased work, roamed 
through the park aimlessly, and finally fell into a fit of 
sickness " night air and too close confinement to 
mental tasks," the doctor said. 

Spencer was not a marrying man he was wedded to 
science, yet he craved the companionship of the female 
mind. Had he and Miss Evans married, he would doubt- 
less have continued his work just the same. He would 
have absorbed her into his being they would have 
lived in a garret, and possibly we might have had a 
better Synthetic Philosophy, if that were possible. 
But we would have had no " Adam Bede" nor " Mill 
on the Floss." 

We often see mention, by the ready writers, of " mental 
equals" and "perfect mates," but in all business 


partnerships, one man is the court of last appeal by 
popular acclaim. If power is absolutely equal, the en- 
gine stops on the center. Twins may look exactly alike, 
but one is the spokesman. In all literary collaboration, 
one does the work and the other looks on. 
"When George Henry Lewes took Mary Ann Evans as 
his wife, that was the last of Lewes. He became her 
inspiration, secretary, protector, friend and slave. And 
this was all beautiful and right. 

I believe it was Augustine Birrell who said, "George 
Henry Lewes was the busy drone to a queen bee." It 
probably is well that Mr. Spencer and Miss Evans did 
not marry they were too much alike they might have 
gotten into competition with each other. 
George Eliot had a poise and dignity in her character 
that kept the versatile Lewes just where he belonged ; 
and at the same time she lived her own life and pre- 
served in ascending degree the strong and simple 
beauties of her character. Truly was George Eliot " a 
citizen of the sacred city of fine minds the Jerusalem 
of Celestial Art." Lewes was the tug that puffed and 
steamed and brought the majestic steamship into port. 
Q For one book George Eliot received a sum equal to 
forty thousand dollars, and her income after "Adam 
Bede ' ' was published was never less than ten thousand 
dollars a year. 

Spencer lived out his days in the boarding-house, and 
until after he was seventy, had not reached a point 
where absolute economy was not in order. 


Spencer faced the Universe alone, and tried to solve 
its mysteries. Not only did he live alone, with no close 
confidants or friends, but when he died he left not a 
single living relative nearer than the fourth generation. 
With him died the name. 

THE leading note in " Social Statics " is a plea for 
the liberty of the individual. That government 
is best which governs least. The liberty of each, 
limited only by the liberty of all, is the rule to which 
society must conform in order to attain the highest 
development. Governments have no business to scru- 
tinize the life and belief of the individual. Interference 
should only come where one man interferes with the 
liberties of another. 

Liberty of action is the first requisite to progress, and 
the prime essential in human happiness. It is better 
that men have wrong opinions than no opinions 
through our blunders we reach the light. 
Government is for man, and not man for government. 
Men wish to do what is best for themselves, and 
eventually they will, if let alone, but they can only 
grow through constant practice and frequent mistakes. 
Plato's plan for an ideal republic provided rules and 
laws for the guidance of the individual. In the Mosaic 
Laws it is the same, every circumstance and compli- 
cation of life is thought out, and the law tells the in- 
dividual what he shall do, and what he shall not do. 


That is to say, a few men were to do the thinking for 
the many. And the argument that plain people should 
not be allowed to think for themselves, since the wise 
know better what is for their good, is exactly the argu- 
ment used by slaveholders: that they can take better 
care of the man than the man can of himself. 
There is a certain plausibility and truth in this prop- 
osition. It is all a point of view. 

But to Herbert Spencer there was little difference be- 
tween enslavement of the mind and enslavement of the 
body. Both were essentially wrong in this they inter- 
fered with nature's law of evolution, and anything 
contrary to nature must pay the penalty of pain and 
death. All forms of enslavement react upon the slave- 
holder, and a society founded on force cannot evolve 
and not to evolve is to die. The well-springs of nature 
must not be dammed and in fact cannot be dammed 
but for a day. Overflow, revolution and violence are 
sure to follow. This is the general law ; and so give the 
man liberty. One man's rights end only where another 
man's begin. 

The idea of evolution, as opposed to a complete cre- 
ation, was in the mind of Spencer as early as 1848. In 
that year he said, " Creation still goes forward, and to 
what supreme heights man may yet attain no one can 

By a sort of general misapprehension, Darwin is 
usually given credit for the discovery and elucidation 
of the Law of Evolution, but the "Origin of Species" 


did not appear until 1859, and both Spencer and Alfred 
Russel Wallace had stated, years before, that the the- 
ological dogma of a complete creation had not a scin- 
tilla of proof from the world of nature and science, 
while there was much general proof that the animal 
and vegetable kingdom had evolved from lower forms, 
and was still ascending. 

The usual idea of the clergy of Christendom was that 
if the account of creation given by Moses were admitted 
to be untrue, then the Bible in all its parts would be 
declared untrue, and religion would go by the board. 
Now that the theory of evolution is everywhere ac- 
cepted, even in the churches, we see how groundless 
were the fears. All that is beautiful and best we still 
have in religion in a degree never before known. 
In an essay on " Manners and Fashion," published in 
the "Westminster Review " of 1854, Herbert Spencer 
says: "Forms, ceremonies and even beliefs are cast 
aside only when they become hindrances only when 
some finer and better plan has been formed ; and they 
bequeath to us all the good that was in them. The abo- 
lition of tyrannical laws has left the administration ol 
justice not only unimpaired, but purified. Dead and 
buried creeds have not carried down with them the 
essential morality they contained, which still exists, 
uncontaminated by the sloughs of superstition. And 
all that there is of justice, kindness and beauty em- 
bodied in our cumbrous forms will live perennially, 
when the forms themselves have been repudiated and 


forgotten." Q In the year 1855, Spencer issued his 
"Principles of Psychology," showing that the doc- 
trine of evolution was then with him a fixed fact. The 
struggle was on, and from now forward his life was 
enlisted to viewing this theory from every side, antici- 
pating every possible objection to it, and re-stating the 
case in its relation to every phase of life and nature. 
Q Spencer's income was small but his wants were 
few, and a single room in a boarding-house sufficed for 
both workshop and sleeping room. To a degree, he 
now largely ceased original investigations and made 
use of the work of others. His intuitive mind, long 
trained in analytical research, was able to sift the false 
from the true, the trite from the peculiar, the excep- 
tional from the normal. 

THE year 1860 should be marked on history's 
page by a silver star, for it was in that year 
that Herbert Spencer issued his famous pros- 
pectus setting forth that he was engaged in formula- 
ting a system of philosophy which he proposed to 
issue in periodical parts to subscribers. He then fol- 
lowed with an outline of the ground he intended to 
cover. Ten volumes would be issued, and he proposed 
to take twenty years to complete the task. 
The entire Synthetic Philosophy was then in his mind 
and he knew what he wanted to do. The courage and 
faith of the man were dauntless. Michael Rossetti 


once said: " Spencer, Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall and 
Wallace owe nothing to the universities of England, 
excepting for the scorn and opposition that have been 
offered them." But patriotic Americans and true are 
glad to remember that it was Prof. E. L. Youmans of 
Yale, who made it possible for Spencer to carry out 
his great plan. Five years after the prospectus was 
issued, Spencer was again penniless and was thinking 
seriously of abandoning the project. Youmans heard 
of this and re-issued the prospectus, and sent it out 
among the thinking men of the world, asking them to 
subscribe. The announcement was then followed up 
by letters, and Youmans forced the issue until the sum 
of seven thousand dollars was raised. This he took 
over to Europe in person and presented to Spencer, 
with a gold watch and a box of cigars. Youmans found 
Spencer at his boarding-house, and together they wan- 
dered out in the park where Youmans presented the 
philosopher the box of cigars. The great man took out 
one, cut it in three parts and proceeded to smoke one, 
then Youmans handed him the gold watch and the 
draft for the money. 

Spencer took the gifts of the watch and cigars and was 
much moved, but when it was followed by the draft 
of seven thousand dollars, he merely gasped and said, 
44 Wonderful! Magnificent! Magnificent! Wonderful! ' 
and smoked his third of a cigar in silence. And when 
he spoke, it was to say : " I think I will have to revise 
what I wrote in ' First Principles ' on the matter of 


divine providence." Q Those "who have read Spen- 
cer's will must remember that this watch, presented to 
him by his American friends, is given a special para- 
graph & & 

Spencer once said to Huxley: " From the day I first 
carried that watch, every good thing I needed has 
been brought and laid at my feet." 
" If I have succeeded in my art, it is simply because I 
have been well sustained," said Henry Irving in one 
of his modest, flattering, yet charming little speeches. 
Q Sir Henry might have gone on and said that no man 
succeeds unless well sustained, and happy is that man 
who has radio-activity of spirit enough to attract to 
him loving and loyal helpers who scintillate his rays. 
Q The average individual does not know very much 
about Edward L. Youmans, but no man did so great 
a work in popularizing nature study in America. And, 
if for nothing else, let his name be deathless for two 
things : he inspired John Burroughs with the thirst to 
see and know and then to write, and he introduced 
Herbert Spencer to the world. It is easy to say that 
Burroughs was peeping his shell when Youmans dis- 
covered him, and that Spencer would have found a 
way in any event. We simply do not know what would 
have happened if something else occurred, or hadn't. 
Q Youmans was born in a New York State country 
village, and very early discovered for himself that the 
world was full of curious and wonderful things, just as 
most children do. He became a district schoolteacher, 


and so far as we know, was the very first man to pub- 
licly advocate nature study as a distinctive means of 
child-growth. He taught his children to observe ; then 
he gave lectures on elementary botany ; he studied and 
he wrote, and he worked at the microscope. 
And he became blind. 

Did the closest observer on the continent cease work 
and grow discouraged when sight failed? Not he. 
He no more quit work than did Beethoven cease com- 
posing music when he no longer was able to hear it. 
Q We hear "with the imagination, and we see with 
the soul. Youmans' sister, Eliza Anne, became his 
guide and amanuensis ; he saw the things through her 
eyes and inspected the wonders with his finger-tips. 
Q He became professor of Physics and Natural His- 
tory at Yale, and when the New England Lecture 
Lyceum was at its height, he rivaled Phillips, Emer- 
son and Beecher as a popular attraction. He made 
science a pleasure to plain people, and started Starr 
King off on that tangent of putting knowledge in fairy- 
like and acceptable form. Youmans' lecture on "The 
Chemistry of a Sunbeam" is one of the unforgettable 
things of a generation past, so full of animation and 
rare, radiant spirit of good-cheer was the man. He 
founded the "Popular Science Monthly," wrote a 
dozen books on science, and several of these are now 
used in most of the colleges and advanced schools of 
America and England. 
The man had a head for business he became rich. 


It was about the year 1856 that Youmans was in Eng- 
land on a business errand, introducing his books in 
the English schools, that he first met Herbert Spen- 
cer, having been attracted to him through a chance 
copy of "Social Statics' that his sister had read to 
him. Youmans saw that Spencer was going right to the 
heart of things in a way he himself could not. The men 
became friends, and of all Youmans' wonderful dis- 
coveries, he considered Herbert Spencer the greatest. 
Q " Sir Humphrey Davy discovered, and possibly 
evolved, Michael Faraday, but I did n't evolve Herbert 
Spencer any more than Balboa evolved the Pacific 
Ocean," said Youmans at a dinner given to Herbert 
Spencer when he visited New York in 1881. The name 
of Youmans is not in the Hall of Fame as one of the 
world's great men, but as naturalist, teacher, writer, 
lecturer and practical man of affairs, he reflects credit 
on his Maker. The light went out of his eyes, but it 
never went out of his soul. 

IN making payment to a publishing house for sixty 
volumes of an American historical work, Speaker 
Cannon recently made this endorsement on the 
back of the check: 

" This check is in full payment, both legal and moral, 
for sixty volumes of books. The books are not worth a 
damn and are dear at that. We are never too old to 
learn, but the way your gentlemanly agent came it 


over your Uncle Joseph, is worth the full amount." 
C When Speaker Cannon says the books are not worth 
a damn, he does not necessarily state a fact about the 
books : he merely states a fact about himself that is, 
he gives his opinion. The value of the books is still 

The Speaker's discontent with the books seems to 
have arisen from the one fact that he had to pay for 
them <& & 

This condition is a classic one, and the world long 
ago has conceded to the man who pays, the privilege 
of protest. 

When Herbert Spencer issued that world-famous 
prospectus, announcing his intention to publish ten 
volumes setting forth his Synthetic Philosophy, it was 
one of the most daring things ever done in the realm 
of thought. Spencer was forty, and he was penniless 
and obscure. He had issued two books at his own 
expense, and it had taken twelve years to dispose of 
seven hundred and fifty copies of one, and most of the 
edition of the other was still on hand. Edward L. 
Youmans had such faith in Spencer that he sent out 
the prospectus, and followed it up with letters and 
personal solicitations, until seven thousand dollars 
was subscribed, and Herbert Spencer, relieved from 
the uncertainties of finance, was free to think and write. 
Q Among other subscribers secured by Youmans, was 
the Rev. Dr. Jowett of Balliol. Spencer's books were 
issued in periodical parts. After paying for three 


years, Jowett sent a check to the publishers for the 
full amount of the subscription, saying, in an accom- 
panying note : " To save myself the bother of periodical 
payments for Mr. Spencer's books, I herewith hand 
you check covering the full amount of my subscription. 
I feel that I have already had full returns, for, while 
the books are absolutely valueless, save as showing 
the industry of an uneducated and indiscreet person, 
yet the experience that has come to me in this trans- 
action, is not without its benefits." 
This is the Oxford way of expressing the Illinois for- 
mula, " Your books are not worth a damn and are 
dear at that." 

But the curious part of this transaction is, that after 
the death of Dr. Jowett, his library -was sold at auc- 
tion, and his set of Synthetic Philosophy brought an 
advance of eight times its original cost. 
Truly my Lord Hamlet doth say : 


And prais'd be rashness for it, let us know, 
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well, 
When our deep plots do fail. 

No one man's opinion concerning any book, or any 
man, is final. Speaker Cannon is admired by one set 
of men and detested by others all of equal intelli- 
gence, although on this point, the Speaker might pos- 
sibly file an exception. 

Books are condemned offhand, or regarded as Bibles 
-it all depends upon your point of view. Speaker 


Cannon may be right in his estimate of the newly 
annexed sixty volumes of history that now grace his 
library shelves in Danville, proudly shown to con- 
stituents, or he maybe wrong ; but anyway, Cannon's 
judgment about books is probably worth no more than 
was Rev. Dr. Jowett's. Gladstone spoke of Jowett as 
that "saintly character;" and Disraeli called him 
"the bear of Balliol erratic, obtuse and perverse." 
But Jowett, Gladstone and Disraeli all united in this 
they had supreme contempt for the work of Herbert 
Spencer, while the Hon. Joseph Cannon is neutral, 
but inclined to be generous, having recently in a 
speech quoted from the "Faerie Queen," which he 
declared was the best thing Herbert Spencer had 
written, even if it was not fully up to date. 

ALL during his life, Spencer was subject to at- 
tacks of indigestion and insomnia. That these 
bad spells were " a disease of the imagination," 
made them no less real. His isolation and lack of social 
ties gave him time to feel his pulse and lie in wait for 
sleepless nights. 

With the old ladies of his boarding-house, he was on 
friendly terms, and his commonplace talk with them 
never gave them a guess concerning the world-wide 
character of his work. Very seldom did he refer to 
what he was doing and thinking and then only among 
his most intimate friends. Huxley was his nearest con- 


fidant ; and a recent writer, who knew him closely 
in a business way for many years, says that only with 
Huxley did he throw off his reserve and enter the 
social lists with abandon. 

No one could meet Spencer, even in the most casual 
way, without being impressed with the fact that he 
was in the presence of a most superior person. The 
man was tall and gaunt, self-contained a little aloof 
he asked for nothing, and realized his own worth. He 
commanded respect because he respected himself 
there was neither abnegation, apology nor abasement 
in his manner. Once I saw him walking in the Strand, 
and I noticed that the pedestrians instinctively made 
way, although probably not one out of a thousand had 
any idea who he was. No one ever affronted him, nor 
spoke disrespectfully to his face ; if unkind things were 
said of the man and his work, it was in print and at 
a distance w jf 

His standard of life was high his sense of justice firm; 
with pretence and hypocrisy he had little patience, 
while for the criminal he had a profound pity. 
Music was to him a relaxation and a rest. He knew 
the science of composition, and was familiar in detail 
with the best work of the great composers. 
In order to preserve the quiet of his thoughts in the 
boarding-house, he devised a pair of ear-muffs which 
fitted on his head with a spring. 

If the conversation took a turn in which he had no 
interest, he would excuse himself to his nearest neigh- 


bor and put on his ear-muffs. The plan worked so 
well that he carried them with him wherever he went, 
and occasionally at lectures or concerts, when he 
would grow more interested in his thoughts than in 
the performance, he would adjust his patent. 
So well pleased was he with his experiment, that he 
had a dozen pairs of the ear-muffs made one Christ- 
mas and gave them to friends, but it is hardly proba- 
ble they had the hardihood to carry them to a Four- 
o'Clock. Seldom, indeed, is there a man who prizes 
his thoughts more than a polite appearance. 
In an address before the London Medical Society, in 
1871, Herbert Spencer said: "The man who does not 
believe in devils during his life, will probably never 
be visited by devils on his death-bed." 
Herbert Spencer died December 8th, 1903, in his 
eighty-fourth year. Up to within two days of his 
death, his mind was clear, active and alert, and he 
worked at his books with pleasure and animation 
revising, correcting and amending. He never lost the 
cairn serenity of life. He sank gradually into sleep 
and passed painlessly away. And thus was gracefully 
rounded out the greatest life of its age The Age of 
Herbert Spencer. 

He left no request as to where he should be buried, 
but the thinking people who recognized his genius, 
considered Westminster Abbey the fitting place an 
honor to England's Valhalla. The Church of England 
denied him a place there before it was asked, and the 


hallowed precincts which shelter the remains of 
Queen Anne's cook and John Broughton the pugilist, 
are not for Herbert Spencer. His dust does not rest 
in consecrated ground. 

Herbert Spencer had no titles nor degrees he be- 
longed to no sect, party, nor society. Practically, he 
had no recognition in England until after he was sixty 
years of age. America first saw his star in the east, 
and long before the first edition of " Social Statics' 
had been sold, we waived the matter of copyright and 
were issuing the book here. On receiving a volume of 
the pirated edition, the author paraphrased Byron's 
famous mot, and grimly said: "Now, Barabbas was 
an American." 

However, Spencer was really pleased to think that 
America should steal his book ; we wanted it the 
English did n't. It took him twelve years to dispose 
of the seven hundred and fifty volumes, and most 
of these were given away as inscribed copies. They 
lasted about as long as Walt Whitman's first edition 
of "Leaves of Grass," although Whitman had the 
assistance of the Attorney General of Massachusetts 
in advertising his remarkable volume. 
Henry Thoreau's first book fared better, for when the 
house burned where the remnant of four hundred 
copies lingered long, he wrote to a friend: "Thank 
God, the edition is exhausted." 

England recognized the worth of Thoreau and Whit- 
man long before America did; and so, perhaps, it was 


meet that we should do as much for Spencer, Ruskin 
and Carlyle jf & 

One of the most valuable of the many great thoughts 
evolved by Spencer was on the "Art of Mentation," 
or brain building. You cannot afford to fix your mind 
on devils or hell, or any other form of fear, hate and 
revenge. Of course, hell is for others, and the devils 
we believe in are not for ourselves. But the thoughts 
of these things are registered in the brain, and the hell 
we create for others, we ourselves eventually fall into ; 
and the devils we conjure forth, return and become 
our inseparable companions. That is to say, all thought 
and all work all effort are for the doer primarily, 
and as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. This 
sounds like the language of metaphysics, which Kant 
said was the science of disordered moonshine. But 
Herbert Spencer's work was all a matter of analytical 
demonstration. And while the word "materialist " was 
everywhere applied to him, and he did not resent it, 
yet he was one of the most spiritual of men. A meta- 
physician is one who proves ten times as much as he 
believes ; a scientist is one who believes ten times as 
much as he can prove. Science speaks with lowered 
voice. Before Spencer's time, German scientists had 
discovered that the cell was the anatomical unit of 
life, but it was for Spencer to show that it was also 
the psychologic or spiritual unit. New thoughts mean 
new brain cells, and every new experience or emo- 
tion is building and strengthening a certain area of 


brain tissue. We grow only throug*. exercise, and all 
expression is exercise. The faculties we use grow 
strong, and those not used, atrophy and -wither away. 
This is no less true, said Spencer, in the material brain 
than in the material muscle. A new thought causes a 
new structural enregistration. If it is the repetition of 
thought, the cells holding that thought are exercised 
and trained, and finally they act automatically, and 
repeated thought becomes habit, and exercised habit 
becomes character and character is the man. 
It thus is plain that no man can afford to entertain the 
thought of fear, hate and revenge and their concomit- 
ants, devils and hell because he is enregistering these 
things physically in his being. These physical cells, 
as science has shown, are transmitted to offspring and 
thus through continued mind-activity and consequent 
brain-cell building, a race with fixed characteristics is 
evolved. Pleasant memories and good thoughts must 
be exercised, and these in time will replace evil mem- 
ories, so that the cells containing negative character- 
istics will atrophy and die. And when Herbert Spen- 
cer says that the process of doing away with evil 
is not through punishment, threat or injunction, but 
simply through a change of activities thus allowing 
the bad to die through disuse he states a truth that 
is even now coloring our whole fabric of pedagogics 
and penology. I couple these two words advisedly, for 
fifty years ago, pedagogics was a form of penology 
the boarding-school with its mentors, scheme of fines, 


repressions and Disgrace ! And now we have lifted 
penology into the realm of pedagogics. I doubt me 
much whether the present penitentiary is a more 
unhappy place than a boys' English boarding-school 
was in the time of Squeers. 

All of our progress has come from replacing bad 
activities by the good. Bad people, we now believe, 
are good folks who have misdirected their energies; 
and we all believe a deal more in the goodness of the 
bad than the badness of the good, with the result that 
"total depravity" and "endless punishment" have 
been shamed out of every pulpit where sane men 
preach. No devils danced on the foot-board of Herbert 
Spencer's bed, because there were no devil-cells in 
his brain 

ANOTHER great discovery of Herbert Spencer's 
was that the emotions control the secretions. 
And the quality of the secretions determine 
the chemical changes which constitute all cellular 
growth. Thus, cheerful, happy emotions are similar to 
sunshine they stand for health and harmony, and as 
such, are constructive. Good-will is sanitary ; kindness 
is hygienic; friendship works for health. These happy 
emotions secrete a quality in the blood called anabo- 
lism, which is essentially vitalizing and life-producing. 
Q On the other hand, fear, hate, and all forms of un- 
kindness, evolve a toxin, katabolism, which tends to 


clog circulation, disturb digestion, congest the secre- 
tions and stupefy the senses ; and it tends to the disso- 
lution and destruction of life. All that saddens, embit- 
ters and disappoints produces this chemical change 
that makes for death. "A poison," said Spencer, "is 
only a concentrated form of hate." 

SPENCER'S discoveries in electricity have 
been most valuable, and it was by building on 
his suggestions and seeing with his prophetic 
eye, that the Crookes tube, the Roentgen ray, and 
the discovery of Radium have become possible. 
The distinguishing feature of Radium is its radio- 
activity, brought about through its affinity for elec- 
tricity. It absorbs electricity from the atmosphere and 
gives it off spontaneously in the form of light and heat 
without appreciable loss of form or substance. Every 
good thing in life is dual, and through this natural 
and spontaneous marriage of Radium and electricity, 
we get very close to the secret of life. As the sun is 
the giver of life and death, so by the use of the salts 
of Radium have scientists vitalized certain forms of 
cell-life into growth and activity, and by the same 
token, and the use of the Radium ray, do they destroy 
the germs of disease. 

By his prophetic vision, Spencer saw years ago that 
we would yet be able to eliminate and refine the sub- 
stances of earth until we found the element that would 



combine spontaneously with electricity, and radiate 
life and heat. Among the very last letters dictated by 
Spencer, only a few days before his death, was one to 
Madame Curie congratulating her on her discovery of 
Radium, and urging her not to relax in her further 
efforts to seek out the secret of life. " My only regret 
is," wrote the great man, "that I will not be here to 
rejoice with you in the fullness of your success." Thus 
to the last did he preserve the eager, curious and 
receptive heart of youth, and prove to the scientific 
world his theory that brain cells, properly exercised, 
are the last organs of the body to lose their functions. 







Vol. XV. NOVEMBER, 1904. No. 5 


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WHEREVER one goes one immediately comes upon this in- 
corrigible mob of humanity. It exists everywhere in legions ; 
crowding, soiling everything, like flies in summer. Hence the num- 
berless bad books, those rank weeds of literature which extract 
nourishment from the corn and choke it. They monopolize the time, 
money, and attention, which really belong to good books and their 
noble aims; they are written merely with a view to making money or 
procuring places. They are not only useless, but they do positive 
harm. Nine-tenths of the whole of our present literature aims solely 
at taking a few shillings out of the public's pocket, and to accomplish 
this, author, publisher, and reviewer have joined forces. 



is c li o DO n li a 1.1 e r 


HE philosophy we evolve is determined 
by what we are; just as a nation passes 
laws legalizing the things it wishes to 
do. " Where the artist is, there you 
will find art," said Whistler. We will 
not get the Ideal Commonwealth until 
we get Ideal People ; and we will not 
get an ideal philosophy until we get 
an ideal philosopher. Place the men- 
tally and morally slipshod in ideal 
surroundings and they will quickly 
evolve a slum, just as did John Shake- 
speare, when at Stratford he was fined 
two pounds ten for maintaining a se- 
quinarium. All we can say for John is 
that he was the author of a fine boy, 
who resembled his mother much more 
than he did his father. This seems to 
prove Schopenhauer's remark con- 
cerning a divine sonship: "Paternity 
is a cheap office, anyway, accom- 
plished without cost, care or risk, and 
of it no one should boast. A divine 
motherhood is the only thing that is 
really sacred." 

It is n't his philosophy that makes a 
man man makes his philosophy, and 
he makes it in his own image. Living 
in a world of strife where the most 


savage beast that roams the earth is man, the Philoso- 
phy of Pessimism has its place. 

Schopenhauer proved himself a true philosopher when 
he said, "All we see in the world is a projection from 
our own minds. I may see one thing, you another; and 
according to the test of a third party we are both wrong, 
for he sees something else. So we are all wrong, yet all 
are right." 

He was quite willing to admit that he had a well- 
defined moral squint and a touch of mental strabismus; 
but he revealed his humanity by blaming his limitations 
on his parents, and charging up his faults and foibles 
to other people. 

It is possible that Carlyle's famous remark about the 
people who daily cross London Bridge was inspired 
by Schopenhauer, who, when asked what kind of 
people the Berliners were, replied, " Mostly fools !" 
Q"I believe," ventured the interrogator "I believe, 
Herr Schopenhauer, that you yourself live at Berlin?" 
Q"I do," was the response, ''and I feel very much at 
home there." 

Arthur Schopenhauer, was a banker and ship- 
ping merchant of the city of Dantzic, Germany. 
He was a successful man, and like all successful men, 
he was an egotist. Before the world -will believe in you, 
you must believe in yourself. And another necessary 


element in success is that you must exaggerate your 
own importance, and the importance of your work. 
Self-esteem will not alone make you successful, but 
without a goodly jigger of self-esteem, success will 
forever dally and dance just beyond your reach. The 
humble men who have succeeded in impressing them- 
selves upon the world, have all taken much pride in 
their humility. 

Heinrich Schopenhauer was a proud man as proud as 
the Merchant of Venice, and in his veins there ran a 
strain of the blue blood of the Castilian Jew. Too much 
success is most unfortunate. Heinrich Schopenhauer 
was proud, unbending, harsh, arbitrary, wore a full 
beard, a withering smile and looked upon musicians, 
painters, sculptors and writers as court clowns, to be 
trusted only as far as you could fling Taurus by the 
tail. All good bookkeepers have, even yet, this pitying 
contempt for those whose chief assets are ideas the 
legal tender of the spirit. The Alameda smile is the 
smile of scorn worn by the bookkeepers who prepare 
the balance sheets for the great merchants of San 
Francisco. Alameda is young, but the Alameda smile 
is classic. 

'When Heinrich Schopenhauer was forty he married a 
beautiful girl of twenty. She had ideas about art and 
poetry, and was passing through her Byronic stage, 
before Byron did, and taking it rather hard, when her 
parents gave her in troth to Heinrich Schopenhauer, 
the rich merchant. It was regarded as a great catch. 


I wish that I could say that Heinrich and Johanna 
were happy ever after, but in view of the well-known 
facts put forth by their first-born child, I cannot do it. 
Q Before marriage the woman has her way let her 
make the most of her powershe '11 not keep it long! 
Shortly after their marriage Heinrich saw symptoms of 
the art instinct creeping in, and players on sweet 
zither strings who occasionally called, compelled him 
to take measures. He bought a country seat, four miles 
from the city, on an inaccessible road, and sent his 
bride thither. Here he visited her only on Saturdays 
and Sundays, and her callers were the good folk he 
chose to bring with him. 

Marital peace is only possible where women are 
properly suppressed lumity dee ! 

It was under these conditions that Arthur Schopen- 
hauer was born, on February 22d in deference to our 
George Washington 1788. 

The chief quality that Schopenhauer inherited from 
his father was the Alameda smile and this smile of 
contempt was for all those who did not think as he did. 
The mother never professed to have any love for her 
husband, or the child either, and the child never pro- 
fessed to have any love for his mother. He once wrote 
this: " I was an unwelcome child, born of a mother in 
rebellion she never wanted me, and I reciprocate the 



IN that troublous year of 1793, the Free City of Dant- 
zic fell under the sway of Prussia. QHeinrich 
Schopenhauer, who loved freedom, jealous of his 
privileges, fearful of his rights, immediately packed up 
his effects, sold out his property at great loss and 
moved to the Free City of Hamburg. 
That his fears for the future were quite groundless, as 
most fears are, is a fact relevant but not consequent. 
Q Johanna was vivacious and eminently social. She 
spoke French, German, English and Italian. She played 
the harp, sang, wrote poetry and acted in dramas of 
her own composition. Around her there always clus- 
tered a goodly group of men with long hair, dreamy 
eyes and pointed beards, who soared high, dived deep, 
but seldom paid cash. This is the paradise to which 
most women wish to attain to be followed by a con- 
course of artistic archangels what nobler ambition ? 
And let the great biological and historical fact here be 
written down that there are no female angels. 
Heinrich did not settle down in Hamburg and go into 
business, as he expected. He and his wife and boy 
traveled much through England, France, Germany 
and Switzerland. 

This man and his wife were trying to get away from 
themselves. Long years after, their son wrote, " When 
people die and wake up in hell they will probably be 
surprised to find that they are just such beings as they 
were when they were on earth." 
For a year the lad was left at school with a clergyman 


at Wimbledon, in England. The strict religious disci- 
pline to which he was there subjected seemed to have 
had much to do with forming in him a fierce hatred of 
English orthodoxy; but he learned the language and 
became familiar with the great names in English liter- 
ature. The King Arthur stories pleased him, and he 
always took a peculiar satisfaction in the fact that the 
name Arthur was the same in English, German and 
French. He was a pre-natal cosmopolitan. 
Boarding-schools are a great scheme for getting the 
children out of the way it throws the responsibility 
upon some one else. 'When nine years of age, Arthur 
was placed in a French boarding-school, remaining for 
two years. There he learned to speak French so flu- 
ently that when he returned to Hamburg and tried to 
talk to his mother in German, his broken speech threw 
that excellent woman into fits of laughter. 
When the mature man of affairs takes a young girl to 
wife, he expects to mold her to his nature, but he 
reckons without his host. Heinrich Schopenhauer's op- 
position to his wife's wishes was not strong enough to 
crush her it simply developed in her a deal of wilful, 
dogged strength. 

One winter day in 1804 the body of Heinrich Schopen- 
hauer was found in the canal at Hamburg. 
Arthur was then sixteen years of age old for his 
years, traveled, clever strong in body and in robust 
In -wandering with his parents, he had met Goethe, 


Wieland, Madame de Stael, Lord Nelson and Lady 
Hamilton, and many other distinguished people, for 
his mother was a famous lion-hunter, and wherever 
they went, the great ones were tracked to their lairs. 
But however much Madame Schopenhauer indulged 
in hero-worship, she had no expectations or ambitions 
for her son. She apprenticed him as a clerk and did 
her utmost to immerse him in commerce. What she 
desired was freedom for herself, and the popular plan 
to gain freedom is to enslave others. Madame Scho- 
penhauer moved to Weimar and opened there a sort of 
literary salon. She wrote verses, novels, essays, and 
her home became the center of a certain artistic group. 
The fortune her husband had left was equal to about 
forty thousand dollars, one-third of which was to go 
to Arthur when he was twenty-one. The mother had 
the handling of it all until that time, and as the funds 
were well invested, her income was equal to about 
two thousand dollars a year. 

"I have made a most interesting acquaintanceship," 
once said Wieland to Madame Schopenhauer. 
*' Indeed," said Madame, " and who can it be ? " 
"Your son," was the reply. 
"Humph," said the widow. 

A handsome widow, under forty, with no incum- 
brances to speak of, and a fair income, is very fortun- 
ately situated. Indeed, a great writer has recently 
written an essay showing that widows, discreetly 
bereaved, are the happiest creatures on earth. 


Young Schopenhauer, at his desk in Hamburg, grieved 
over the death of his father. That which is lost be- 
comes valuable bereavement softens the heart. The 
only tenderness that is revealed in the writings of 
Schopenhauer refers to his father. He affirms the sterling 
honesty of the man, and lauds the merchant who boldly 
states that he is in business to make money, and com- 
pares him with the philosophers who clutch for power 
and fame and yet pretend they are working for human- 
ity. When Schopenhauer was past sixty, he dedicated 
his complete works to the memory of his father. As 
nothing purifies like fire, so does nothing sanctify like 
death the love we lose is the only love we keep. 
Mathematics, bills and balance-sheets were odious to 
young Schopenhauer. He reverenced the memory of 
his father, but his mother had endowed him with a 
strong impulse for expression. He wrote little essays 
on the backs of envelopes, philosophized over his bills, 
sneaked out of the counting-room the back way to 
attend the afternoon lectures by the great Dr. Gall, and 
finally, boldly followed his mother to Weimar, that he 
might bask in the shadow of the mighty Goethe. It was 
shortly after this that he sat in a niche of Goethe's li- 
brary, musing, sad and solitary, while a gay throng 
chattered by. Some young women, seeing him there, 
laughed, and one asked, "Is it alive?" And Goethe, 
overhearing the pleasantry, rebuked it by saying, " Do 
not smile at that youth he will yet eclipse us all." 
Q At Weimar there was no greeting for Schopenhauer 


from his mother she welcomed all but her son. Un- 
fortunately for her, she put herself on record by writing 
him letters. Scathing letters are all right, but they 
should be directed and stamped, then burned just be- 
fore they are trusted to the mails. To record unkindness 
is tragedy, for the unkind word lives long after the 
event that caused it is forgotten. Here is one letter 
written by Madame Schopenhauer that this methodical 
son saved for posterity : 

My Dear Son: 

I have always told you it is difficult to live with 
you. The more I get to know you, the more I feel this 
difficulty increase. I will not hide it from you: as long 
as you are what you are, I would rather bring any 
sacrifice than consent to be near you. I do not under- 
value your good points, and that which repels me does 
not He in your heart ; it is in your outer, not your inner 
being; in your ideas, your judgment, your habits; in a 
word, there is nothing concerning the outer world in 
which we agree. Your ill-humor, your complaints of 
things inevitable, your sullen looks, the extraordinary 
opinions you utter, like oracles, none may presume to 
contradict ; all this depresses me and troubles me, with- 
out helping you. Your eternal quibbles, your laments 
over the stupid world and human misery, give me bad 
nights and unpleasant dreams. ******** 

Your Dear Mother, etc., 



THE young man took lodgings at Weimar, at a 
goodly distance from his mother. Goethe held 
out a friendly hand, as he did to Mendelssohn, 
and all bright young men. They talked much, and 
Goethe read to Arthur his essay on the theory of 
colors, (for "Wolfgang Gcethe was human and dearly 
loved the sound of his own voice). The reasoning so 
impressed the youth that he devised a chromatic 
theory of his own almost as peculiar. Theories are for 
the theorizer, so all theories are useful. 
At the earnest importunity of his mother, who starved 
him to it, Arthur went back to his clerkship, but soon 
returned and made terms, agreeing not to call on his 
mother, in consideration of a pound a week. He took 
lessons in Greek and Latin of a retired professor, at- 
tended lectures, fell in love with an actress vowed he 
would marry her, but, luckily for her, he did n't. 
When he was twenty-one, his mother turned over to 
him his patrimony, amounting to about fourteen thou- 
sand dollars ; and suggested that he leave Weimar and 
make his fortune elsewhere the world was wide. 
His money was invested so it brought him an income 
of seven hundred dollars a year. And here seems a 
good place to say that Schopenhauer's income was 
never over a thousand dollars a year until after he was 
fifty-six years of age. Although he could not make 
money, yet he had inherited from his father an ability 
to care for it. Throughout his life he kept exact books 
of account, never ran in debt, and never allowed his 


expenditures to outrun his income, thus complying 
with Charles Dickens' recipe for happiness. 
In still another way he revealed that he could apply 
philosophy to daily life he exercised regularly in the 
open air took long walks, was absurdly exact about 
his cold baths, and like Kant, served the neighbors as 
a chronometer, so they set their clocks at three when 
they saw him going forth for a walk. And in the in- 
terests of truth, we will have to make the embarrassing 
admission that the great Apostle of Pessimism was 
neither a dyspeptic nor an invalid if he was ever 
aware that he had a stomach we do not hear of it. 

THE life of Schopenhauer is the life of a recluse 
a visionary a hermit who lost himself amid 
the maze of city streets, and moved solitary in 
the throng. Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Gottingen, 
Frankfort engaged him, and from one to the other he 
turned, looking for the rest he never found, and which 
he knew he would never find, so in the vain search 
there was no disappointment. He was always happiest 
when most miserable, for then were his theories 
proved W jf 

A single room in a lodging-house sufficed, and this 
room always had the appearance of being occupied by 
a transient. He had few books, accumulated no be- 
longings in way of domestic ballast, persistently giving 
things away that were presented to him, satisfied if he 


had a chair, a bed, and a table upon which to "write, 
getting his own breakfast, dining at the table d' hote of 
the nearest inn, with supper at a "Gast-Haus" so 
passed his days. He had no intimate friends, and his 
chief dissipation was playing the flute. His black 
poodle, named "Homo" in a subtle mood of irony, 
accompanied him everywhere, and on this dog he 
lavished what he was pleased to call his love. He an- 
ticipated Rip Van Winkle concerning dogs and women, 
and when Homo died, he bought another dog that 
looked exactly like the first, and was just as good. 
In a few instances Schopenhauer read his essays in 
public as lectures, but his ideas -were keyed to concert 
pitch and were too pronounced for average audiences. 
He was offered a professorship at Gottingen and also at 
Heidelberg, if he would "tone things down," but he 
scornfully declined the proposition, and said, "The 
Universities must grow to my level before I can talk 
to them." By his caustic criticisms of contemporaries 
he became both feared and shunned, and no doubt he 
found a certain satisfaction in the fact that the so- 
called learned men of his time would neither listen to 
his lectures, read his books, nor abide his presence. 
He had made himself felt in any event. " Blessed are 
ye when men shall revile you," is the sweet consola- 
tion of all persecuted persons and persecution is only 
the natural resentment towards those who have too 
much ego in their cosmos. 
His opinions concerning love and marriage need not be 


taken too seriously. Ideas are the results of tempera- 
ments and moods. When a man amplifies on the 
woman question he describes the women he knows 
best, and more especially the particular She who is in 
his head. Literature is only autobiography, more or 
less discreetly veiled. Schopenhauer hated his mother 
to the day of her death, and although during the last 
twenty-four years of her life he never once saw her, 
her image could at any time be quickly and vividly 
thrown upon the screen. The women a strong man has 
known are never forgotten here is where time does 
not tarnish, nor the days grow dim. 
Between his twenty-eighth and fortieth years, Scho- 
penhauer had wandered through Italy spent months 
at Venice, and dawdled away the days at Rome and 
Florence. He had dipped deep into life and the wrong 
kind of life. And his experiences had confirmed his 
suspicions it was all bitter he was not disappointed. 
Q Until Schopenhauer was past thirty he was known 
as the son of Johanna Schopenhauer. And when he once 
told her that posterity would never remember her ex- 
cepting as the mother of her son, she reciprocated by 
congratulating him that his books could always be had 
cheap in the first editions. 

He retorted, " Mamma Dear, my books will be read 
when butchers are using yours for wrapping up meat." 
Q In some ways this precious pair were very much alike. 
Qlt is very probable that Schopenhauer's mother was 
not so base as he thought; and when he declared 


"woman's morality is only a kind of prudence," he 

might have said the same of his own. He stood aloof 

from life and said things about it. He had no wife, no 

child, no business, no home he dared not venture boldly 

into the tide of existence he stood forever on the bank, 

and watched the current carrying its flotsam and jetsam 

to the hungry sea. 

In his love for the memory of his father, and in his 

tender care for his dog, we get a glimpse of depths that 

were never sounded. One side of his nature was never 

developed. And the words of the undeveloped man are 

worth what they are worth. 

Schopenhauer once said to Wieland, " Life is a ticklish 

business I propose to spend my time looking at it." 

This he did, viewing existence from every angle, 

and writing out his thoughts in terse, epigrammatic 


Among all the German writers on philosophy, the only 

one who had a distinct literary style is Schopenhauer. 

Form was quite as much to him as matter and in this 

he showed rare wisdom ; although I am told that the 

writers who have no literary style, are the only ones 

who despise it. Dishes to be palatable must be rightly 

served: appetite literary, gastronomic, or sexual is 

largely a matter of imagination. 

Schopenhauer need not be regarded as final. The chief 

virtue of the man lies in the fact that he makes us 

think, and thus are we his debtors. 

In this summary of Schopenhauer's philosophy I have 


had the valuable assistance of my friend and fellow- 
worker in The Roycroft Shop, Mr. George Panne- 
bakker, a kinsman and enthusiastic admirer of the 
great Prophet of Pessimism. 

In talking to Mr. Pannebakker, I am inclined to ex- 
claim, " Thou almost persuadest me to be a pessimist ! ' 
It is unfortunate that our English tongue contains no 
'word that stands somewhere between pessimism and 
optimism that symbols a judicial cast of mind which 
sees the Truth without blinking and accepts it without 
complaint. The word Pessimist was first flung in con- 
tempt at those -who dared to express unpalatable truth. 
It is now accepted by a large number of intellectuals, 
and if to be a pessimist is to have insight, wit, calm 
courage, patience, persistency, and a disposition that 
accepts all fate sends and makes the best of it, then 
pity 't is we have n't more. 

THE root of existence, the inmost kernel of all 
being, the original vitalizing power, the funda- 
mental reality of the universe is, according to 
Schopenhauer, "WILL." What is Will? Will, in the 
usual sense, is the faculty of our mind by which we 
decide to do or not to do. Will is the power to choose. 
In Schopenhauer's philosophy, Will is something less 
as we know will, and something more than force. Will, 
connected with consciousness, as peculiar to man, is, 
in a less developed form, the real essence of all matter, 


of all things, organic or inorganic. 'Will is the blind, 
irresistible striving for existence ; the unconscious or- 
ganizing power, the omnipotent creative force of 
nature, pervading the whole limitless universe ; the 
endeavor to be, to evolve, to expand. 
The whole world of phenomena is the objectivation or 
apparition of Will. 

Will, the same force which slumbers in the stone as 
inert gravity, forms the crystals with such wonderful 

Will impels a piece of iron to move with ardent desire 
toward the magnet. Will causes the magnet to point 
with unfailing constancy to the north. Will causes the 
embryo to cling as a parasite and feed on the body of 
the mother. Will causes the mother's breast to fill 
that her babe may be fed. Will fills the mother-heart 
with love that the young may be cared for. 
The same force urges the tender germ of the plant to 
break through the hard crust of the earth and, stretch- 
ing toward the light, to enfold itself in the proud crown 
of the palm tree. Will sharpens the beak of the eagle 
and the tooth of the tiger and, finally, reaches its high- 
est grade of objectivation in the human brain. Want, 
the struggle for existence, the necessity of procuring 
and selecting sufficient food for the preservation of the 
individual and the species, has at last developed a 
suitable tool, the brain, and its function, the intellect. 
With the intellect appears consciousness and a realm 
of rational life full of yearning and desires, pleasures 


and pain, hatred and love. Brothers slay their brothers, 
conquerors trample down the races of the earth and 
tyrants are forging chains for the nations. 
There is violence and fear, vexation and trouble. Un- 
rest is the mark of existence, and onward we are swept 
in the hurrying whirlpool of change. This manifold 
restless motion is produced and kept up by the agency 
of two single impulses hunger and the sexual instinct. 
These are the chief agents of the Lord of the Universe 
the Will and set in motion so strange and varied a 
scene jf & 

The Will-to-live is at the bottom of all love affairs. 
Every kind of love springs entirely from the instinct 
of sex. 

Love is under bonds to secure the existence of the 
human race in future times. The real aim of the whole 
of love's romance, although the persons concerned 
are unconscious of the fact, is that a particular being 
may come into the world. 

It is the Will-to-live, presenting itself in the whole 
species, which so forcibly and exclusively attracts two 
individuals of different sex towards each other. 
This yearning and this pain do not arise from the 
needs of an ephemeral individual, but are, on the con- 
trary, the sigh of the Spirit of the Species. 
Since life is essentially suffering, the propagation of 
the species is an evil the feeling of shame proves it. 
In his Metaphysics of Love, Schopenhauer says, 
We see a pair of lovers exchanging longing glances 


yet why so secretly, timidly, and stealthily? Because 
these lovers are traitors secretly striving to perpetuate 
all the misery and turmoil that otherwise would come 
to a timely end." 

Will, as the source of life, is the origin of all evil. 
Having awakened to life from the night of unconscious- 
ness, the individual finds itself in an endless and 
boundless world, striving, suffering, erring; and, as 
though passing through an ominous dream, it hurries 
back to the old unconsciousness. Until then, however, 
its desires are boundless, and every satisfied -wish be- 
gets a new one. So-called pleasures are only a mode of 
temporary relief. Pain soon returns in the form of sa- 
tiety. Life is a more or less violent oscillation between 
pain and ennui. The latter, like a bird of prey, hovers 
over us, ready to swoop down wherever it sees a life 
secure from need. 

The enjoyment of art, as the disinterested cognition 
devoid of Will, can afford an interval of rest from the 
drudgery of Will service. But aesthetic beatitude can 
be obtained only by a few ; it is not for the hoi polloi. 
And then, art can give only a transient consolation. 
Q Everything in life indicates that earthly happiness 
is destined to be frustrated or to be recognized as an 
illusion. Life proves a continuous deception, in great 
as well as small matters. If it makes a promise, it does 
not keep it, unless to show that the coveted object was 
little desirable. 
Life is a business that does not pay expenses. 


Misery and pain form the essential feature of existence. 
Q Life is hell, and happy is that man who is able to 
procure for himself an asbestos overcoat and a fire- 

Looking at the turmoil of life, we find all occupied with 
its want and misery, exerting all their strength in order 
to satisfy its endless needs and avert manifold suffering, 
without daring to expect anything else in return than 
merely the preservation of this tormented individual 
existence, full of want and misery, toil and moil, strife 
and struggle, sorrow and trouble, anguish and fear 
from the cradle to the grave. 

Existence, when summed up, has an enormous sur- 
plus of pain over pleasure. 

You complain that this philosophy is comfortless \ But 
Schopenhauer sees life through Schopenhauer's eyes, 
and tells the truth about it as he sees it. He does not 
care for your likes and dislikes. If you want to hear 
soft platitudes, he advises you to go to a non-conformist 
church read the newspapers, go somewhere else, but 
not to the philosopher who cares only for Truth. 
Although Schopenhauer's picture of the world is 
gloomy and sombre, there is nothing weak or cowardly 
in his writings, and the extent to which he is read, 
proves he is not depressing. Since a happy life is impos- 
sible, he says the highest that a man can attain to is 
the fate of a hero. 

A man must take misfortune quietly, because he knows 
that very many dreadful things may happen in the 


course of life. He must look upon the trouble of the 

moment as only a very small part of that which will 

probably come. 

We must not expect very much from life, but learn to 

accommodate ourselves to a world where all is relative 

and no perfect state exists. 

Let us look misfortune in the face and meet it with 

courage and calmness ! 

Fate is cruel and men are miserable. Life is synony- 

mous with suffering ; positive happiness a fata morgana, 

an illusion. 

Only negative happiness, the cessation of suffering, is 

possible, and can be obtained by the annihilation of the 


But it is not suicide that can deliver us from the pains 

of existence. 

Suicide, according to Schopenhauer, frustrates the 

attainment of the highest moral aim by the fact that 

for a real release from this world of misery, it substi- 

tutes one that is merely apparent. For death merely 

destroys the phenomenon, that is, the body, and never 

my inmost being, or the universal Will. 

Suicide can deliver me merely from my phenomenal 

existence, and not from my real self, which cannot die. 

CJ How then can man be released from this life of 

misery and pain ? Where is the road that leads to Sal- 

vation ? 

Slow and -weary is the way of redemption. 

The deliverance from life and its sufferings is the 


freedom of the intellect from its creator and despot, 
the Will. 

The intellect, freed from the bondage of the Will, sees 
through the veil of selfhood into the unity of all being, 
and finds that he who has done wrong to another has 
done wrong to his own self. For selfhood the assert- 
ing of the Ego is the root of all evil. 
Covetousness and sensuality are the causes of misery. 
Q Sympathy is the basis of all true morality, and only 
through renunciation, through self-sacrifice, and uni- 
versal benevolence, can salvation be obtained. 
He who has recognized that existence is evil, that life 
is vanity, and self an illusion, has obtained true knowl- 
edge, which is the reflection of reality. He is in pos- 
session of the highest wisdom, which is not merely 
theoretical, but also practical perfection ; it is the ulti- 
mate true cognition of all things in mass and in detail, 
which has so penetrated man's being that it appears 
as the guide of all his actions. It illumines his head, 
warms his heart, leads his hand. We take the sting out 
of life by accepting it as it is. " Drink ye all of it." 

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER very early in life 
contracted a bad habit of telling the truth. He 
stated the thing absolutely as he saw it. He 
spared no one's feelings, and conciliation was not in 
his bright lexicon of words. If any belief or any insti- 
tution was in his way, the pilot in charge of the craft 


had better put his prow hard a' port Schopenhauer 
swerved for nobody. 

Should every one deal in plain speaking on all occa- 
sions, the philosophy of Ali Baba that this earth is 
hell, and we are now suffering for sins committed in a 
former incarnation would be fully proved. Our friends 
are the pleasant hypocrites who sustain our illusions 
Society is made possible only through a vast web of 
delicate evasions, polite subterfuges, and agreeable 
falsehoods. The word person comes from persona, 
which means a mask. The reference is to one who 
plays a part assumes a role. The naked truth is not 
pleasant to look upon, and that is the reason it is so 
seldom put upon parade. 

The man Schopenhauer would be intolerable, but the 
writer Schopenhauer is gaining ground in inverse ratio 
to the square of the distance we are from him. " Where 
shall we bury you ? ' a friend asked him a few days 
before his death. 

"Oh, anywhere posterity will find me!" was the 
answer. And so on the modest stone that marks his 
resting-place at Frankfort, are the words, ARTHUR 
SCHOPENHAUER, and nothing more. The world 
will not soon forget the pessimist who had such un- 
dying optimism such unquenchable faith that he 
knew the world would make a path to his tomb. 
Schopenhauer was the only prominent writer that ever 
lived who persistently affirmed that life is an evil ex- 
istence a curse. Yet every man who has ever lived has 


at times thought so, but to proclaim the thought or 
even entertain it long would stagger sanity, befog the 
intellect and make mind lose its way. 
And yet we prize Schopenhauer the more for having 
said the thing that we secretly thought ; in some subtle 
way we get a satisfaction out of his statement, and at 
the same time, we perceive the man was wrong. 
The man -who can vivisect an emotion, and lay bare a 
heart-beat in print, knows a subtle joy. The misery that 
can explain itself, is not all misery. Complete misery is 
dumb ; and pain that is all pain, is quickly transformed 
into insensibility. Schopenhauer's life was quite as 
happy as that of many men who persistently depress 
us by requesting us to " cheer up." Schopenhauer says, 
11 Don't try to cheer up the worst is yet to come." 
And we cannot refrain a smile. A mother once called 
to her little boy to come in the house. And the boy 
answered, "I won't do it!" And the mother replied, 
"Stay out then." And very soon the child came in. 
Q Truth is only a point of view, and when a man tells 
us what he sees, we swiftly take into consideration who 
and what the man is. Everybody does this, uncon- 
sciously. It depends upon who says it ! The garrulous 
man who habitually overstates painting things large 
does not deceive anybody, and is quite as good a com- 
panion as the painstaking, exact man who is always 
setting us straight on our statistics. One man we take 
gross and the other net. The liar gross is all right, but 
the liar net is very bad. 


Schopenhauer was a talkative, whimsical & sensitive 
personality, with a fine assortment of harmless super- 
stitions of his own manufacture. He was vain, frivo- 
lous, self-absorbed, but he had an eye for the subtleties 
of existence that quite escape the average individual. 
He lived in a world of mind alert, active, receptive 
mind with a rapid-fire gun in way of a caustic, biting, 
scathing vocabulary at his command. 
The test of every literary work is time. The trite, the 
commonplace, and the irrelevant die and turn to dust. 
The vital lives. Schopenhauer began writing in his 
youth. Neglect, indifference and contempt were his 
portion until he was over fifty years of age. His passion 
for truth was so repelling that the Mutual Admiration 
Society refused to record his name even on its waiting 
list. He was of that elect few who early in life succeed 
in ridding themselves of the friendship of the many. 
His enemies discovered him first, and gave him to the 
world, and after they had launched his fame with their 
charges of plagiarism, pretense, bombast, insincerity 
and fraud, he has never been out of the lime-light, and 
in favor he has steadily grown. 

No man was ever more thoroughly denounced than 
Schopenhauer, but even his most rabid foe never ac- 
cused him of buying his way into popular favor, or 
bribing the judges who sit on the book case. 
We admire the man because he is such a sublime 
egotist he is so fearfully honest. We love him because 
he is so often wrong in his conclusions : he gives us 



the joy of putting him straight. Q Schopenhauer's 
writing is never the product of a tired pen and ink un- 
stirred by the spirit. With him we lose our self-con- 

And the man who can make other men forget them- 
selves has conferred upon the world a priceless boon. 
Introspection is insanity to open the windows and 
look out is health. 



|E see that Joaquin Miller has re- 
cently said, "I believe Elbert 
Hubbard has a wider vocabulary 
and a more varied use of pictur- 
esque and epigrammatic English 
than any other living writer." This 
looks like the pleasant interchange 
of the Mutual Admiration Society, 
but a closer view will pretty nearly 
prove the proposition true. Fra 
Elbertus does not know more great 
things, but all the little things that 
other writers do not consider worth 
while to mention, he has within 
easy reach, and by the use of the 
seemingly trivial he makes the 
distant past seem but yesterday. 
We do not agree with all of his 
conclusions, but let the fact stand : 
he drives us to the dictionary as 

no other modern author does. 
w Francisco Examiner. 


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and the Subjects are as follows : 









tir L 


T H O R E A U 


Vol. 2V. DECEMBER, 1904. No. 6. 

Single Copies, 25 cents 

By the Year, $3.00 

A Missionary Move 

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Copernicus Ernst Haeckel 

Galileo Carl von Linnaeus 

Sir Isaac Newton Thomas H. Huxley 

Humboldt John Tyndall 

Sir Wm. H. Herschel Alfred Russel Wallace 

Charles R. Darwin John Fiske 

Address THE ROYCROFTERS at their Shop, 
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Entered at the postoffice at East Aurora, New Yorje, for transmission as 
second-class mail matter. Copyright, 1903, by Elbert Hubbard 








SEEING how all the world's ways came to nought, 
And how Death's one decree merged all degrees, 
He chose to pass his time with birds and trees, 
Reduced his life to sane necessities : 
Plain meat and drink and sleep and noble thought. 
And the plump kine which waded to the knees 
Through the lush grass, knowing the luxuries 
Of succulent mouthfuls, had our gold-disease 
As much as he, who only Nature sought. 

Who gives up much the gods give more in turn : 
The music of the spheres for dross of gold; 

For o'er officious cares flame-songs that burn 

Their pathway through the years and never old. 

And he who shunned vain cares and vainer strife 
Found an eternity in one short life. 

Henry Thoreau 


T Korean's Cabin 


|S a rule, the man who can do all things 
equally well is a very mediocre in- 
dividual. Those who stand out before 
a groping world as beacon-lights were 
men of great faults and unequal per- 
formances. It is quite needless to add 
that they do not live on account of 
their faults or imperfections, but in 
spite of them. 

Henry David Thoreau's place in the 
common heart of humanity grows 
firmer and more secure as the seasons 
pass ; and his life proves for us again 
the paradoxical fact that the only men 
who really succeed are those who fail. 
Q Thoreau's obscurity, his poverty, 
his lack of public recognition in life, 
either as a writer or lecturer, his rejec- 
tion as a lover, his failure in business, 
and his early death, form a combination 
of calamities that make him as im- 
mortal as a martyr. Especially does 
an early death sanctify all and make 
the record complete, but the death of 
a naturalist while right at the height 
of his ability to see and enjoy death 
from tuberculosis of a man who lived 
most of the time in open air these 
things array us on the side of the man 


'gainst unkind fate, and cement our sympathy and love. 
Q Nature's care forever is for the species, and the in- 
dividual is sacrificed without ruth that the race may 
live and progress. This dumb indifference of Nature to 
the individual this apparent contempt for the man 
seems to prove that the individual is only a phenome- 
non. Man is merely a manifestation, a symptom, a 
symbol, and his quick passing proves that he is n't the 
Thing. Nature does not care for him she produces a 
million beings in order to get one who has thoughts 
all are swept into the dust-pan of oblivion but the one 
who thinks ; he alone lives, embalmed in the memories 
of generations unborn. 

The Thoreau race is dead. In Sleepy Hollow Cemetery 
at Concord there is a monument marking a row of 
mounds where a half-dozen Thoreaus rest. The in- 
scriptions are all of one size, but the name of one 
Thoreau alone lives, and he lives because he had 
thoughts and expressed them. 

One of the most insistent errors ever put out was that 
statement of Rousseau, paraphrased in part by T. 
Jefferson, that all men are born free and equal. No 
man was ever born free, and none are equal, and 
would not remain so an hour, even if Jove, through 
caprice, should make them so. 

If any of the tribe of Thoreau gets into Elysium, it 
will be by tagging close to the only man among them 
who glorified his Maker by using his reason. 
Nothing should be claimed as truth that cannot be 


demonstrated, but as a hypothesis (borrowed from 
Henry Thoreau), I give you this: Man is only the tool 
or vehicle Mind alone is immortal Thought is the 

EREDITY does not account for the evolution 
of Henry Thoreau. His father was of French 
descent a plain, stolid little man who settled 
in Concord with his parents when a child ; later he 
tried business in Boston, but the march of commerce 
resolved itself into a double-quick, and John Thoreau 
dropped out of line, and turned to the country village 
of Concord, where he hoped that between making lead- 
pencils and gardening he might secure a living. 
He moved better than he knew. 

John Thoreau' s wife was Cynthia Dunbar, a tall and 
handsome woman, with a ready tongue and nimble 
wit. Her attentions were largely occupied in looking 
after the affairs of the neighbors, and as the years went 
by her voice took on the good old metallic twang of 
the person who discusses people, not principles. 
Henry Thoreau was the third child in the family of 
seven. He was born in an old house on the Virginia 
Road, Concord, about a mile and a half from the village. 
This house was the home of Mrs. Thoreau's mother, 
but the Thoreaus had taken refuge there, temporarily, 
to escape a financial blizzard which seems to have hit 
no one else but themselves. 


John Thoreau was assisted in the pencil making by 
the -whole family. The Thoreaus used to sell their 
pencils down at Cambridge, nfteen miles away, and 
Harvard professors, for the most part, used the Con- 
cord article in jotting down their sublime thoughts. At 
ten years of age, Thoreau had a furtive eye on Harvard, 
directed thither, they say, by his mother. All the best 
people in Concord, who had sons, sent them to Har- 
vard why should n't the Thoreaus ? The spirit of 
emulation and family pride were at work. 
Henry was educated principally because he was n't 
very strong, nor was he on good terms with work, and 
these are classic reasons for imparting classical edu- 
cation to youth, aspiring or otherwise. 
The Concord Academy prepared Henry for college, 
and when he was sixteen, he trudged off to Cambridge 
and was duly entered in the Harvard Class of 1837. At 
Harvard, his cosmos seemed to be of such a slatey 
gray that no one said, "Go to we will observe this 
youth and write anecdotes about him, for he is going 
to be a great man." The very few in his class who re- 
membered him, wrote their reminiscences long years 
afterward, with memories refreshed by magazine ac- 
counts written by pious pilgrims from Michigan. 
In college pranks and popular amusements he took 
no part, neither was he a "grind," for he impressed 
himself on no teacher or professor so that they opened 
their mouths and made prophecies. 
Once safely through college, and standing on the 


threshold (I trust I use the right expression), Henry 
Thoreau refused to accept his diploma and pay five 
dollars for it he said it was n't worth the money. 
In his " Walden," Thoreau expresses his opinion of 
college training this way: " If I wished a boy to know 
something about the arts and sciences I would not 
pursue the common course, which is merely to send 
him into the neighborhood of some professor, where 
everything is professed and practiced but the art of life. 
To my astonishment, I was informed when I left col- 
lege that I had studied navigation ! Why, if I had taken 
one turn down the harbor I would have known more 
about it." 

It is well to remember, however, that Thoreau had 
no ambitions to become a navigator. His mission was 
simply to paddle his own canoe on Walden Pond and 
Concord River. The men who really launched him on 
his voyage of discovery were Ellery Channing and 
Ralph Waldo Emerson both Harvard men. Had he 
not been a college man, it is quite probable he would 
never have caught the speaker's eye. His efforts in 
working his way through college, assisted by his 
poverty-stricken parents, proved his quality. And as 
for his life in a shanty on the shores of Walden Pond, 
the occurrence is too commonplace to mention, were 
it not for the fact that the solitary occupant of the 
shanty was a Harvard graduate who used no tobacco. 
Q Harvard prepares a youth for life but here is a man 
who, having prepared for life, deliberately turns his 


back on life and lives in the woods. Q A genuine woods- 
man is no curiosity, but a civilized woodsman is. The 
tendency of colleges is to turn men from nature to 
books; from bonfires to stoves, steam-heat and cash 
registers ; but Thoreau, by reversing all rules, suddenly 
found himself, and others, explaining his position in 
print & & 

Harvard supplied him the alternating current ; he in- 
fluenced the people in his environment, and he was 
influenced by his environment. 

Q But without Harvard there would have been no 
Thoreau. Having earned his diploma, he had the 
privilege of declining it ; and having gone to college, 
it was his right to affirm the emptiness of the classics. 
Only the man with a goodly bank-balance can wear 
rags "with impunity. 

JOHN THOREAU made his lead-pencils and ped- 
dled them out, and we hear of his saying, " Pencils, 
I fear, are going out of fashion people are buying 
nothing but these miserable new-fangled steel pens." 
"When called upon to surrender, Paul Jones replied, 
"We haven't yet begun to fight." The truth was, the 
people had not really begun to use pencils. Pencils 
weren't going out of fashion, but John Thoreau was. 
The poor man moved here and there, evicted by rapa- 
cious landlords and taken in by his relatives, who did n't 
care whether he was a stranger or not. If he owed 


them ten dollars, they took fifty dollars' worth of pen- 
cils and called it square. 

Then they undersold John one-half, and he said times 
were scarce., 

This, it need not be explained, was in Massachusetts. 
Q A hundred years ago, these men who whittled use- 
ful things out of wood during the long winter days, 
were everywhere in New England. The sons of these 
men invented machines to make the same things, and 
thus were started the New England manufactories. It 
was brains against hands, cleverness against skill, 
initiative against plodding industry. And the man who 
can tell of the sorrow and suffering of all those indus- 
trious sparrows that were caught and wound around 
flying shuttles, or stamped beneath the swift presses 
of invention, has n't yet been born. God does n't seem 
to care for sparrows three-fourths of all that are 
hatched die in the nest or fall fluttering to the ground 
and perish, Grant Allen says. 

Comparatively few persons can adjust themselves 
happily to new conditions the rest are pushed and 
broken and bent and die. 

When Dixon and Faber invented machines that could 
be fed automatically, and turn out more pencils in a 
day than John Thoreau could in a year, John was out 
of the game. 

John had brought up his children to work, and Henry 
became an expert pencil-maker. Henry, we say, should 
have found employment with Faber & Co. as foreman, 


or else evaded their patents and made a pencil machine 
of his own. Instead, however, he settled down and 
made pencils just like his father used to make, and in 
the same way. He peddled out a few to his friends, but 
his business instinct was shown in that he himself 
tells how one year he made a thousand dollars' worth 
of pencils, but was obliged to sacrifice them all to can- 
cel a debt of one hundred dollars. 

And yet there are people who declare that genius is 
not transmissible. 

John Thoreau failed at pencil making, but Henry 
Thoreau failed because he played the flute morning, 
noon and night, and went singing the immunity of 
Pan. He fished, and tramped the woods and fields, 
looking, listening, dreaming and thinking. 
At Keswick, where the water comes down at Ladore, 
there is a pencil factory that has been there since the 
days of 'William the Conqueror. The wife of Coleridge 
used to work there and get money that supported her 
philosopher husband and their children. Southey lived 
near, and became Poet Laureate of England through 
the right exercise of Keswick pencils ; Wordsworth 
lived only a few miles away, and once he brought over 
Charles and Mary Lamb, and bought pencils for both, 
with their names stamped on them. The good old man 
who now keeps the pencil factory explained these 
things to me, and also explained the direct relationship 
of good lead-pencils to literature, but I do not remem- 
ber what it was. 

Present Site of Thoreau's Cabin 

George William Curtis 


If Henry Thoreau had held on a few years, until the 
pilgrims began to arrive at Concord, he could have 
gotten rich selling souvenir pencils. But he just dozed 
and dreamed and tramped and philosophized; and 
when he wrote he used an eagle's quill, with ink he 
himself distilled from elderberries, and at first, birch 
bark sufficed for paper. " Wild men and wild things 
are the only ones that have life in abundance," he 
used to say. 


BROOK FARM was a serious, sober experiment 
inaugurated by Rev. George Ripley with intent 
to live the ideal life the life of useful effort, 
direct honesty, simplicity and high thinking. 
But Thoreau could not be induced to join the com- 
munity he thought too much of his liberty to entrust 
it to a committee. He was interested in the experiment, 
but not enough to visit the experimenters. Emerson 
looked in on them, remained one night, and went back 
home to continue his essay on Idealism. 
Hawthorne remained long enough to get material for 
his Blithedale Romance, Margaret Fuller secured good 
copy and the cordial and lifelong dislike of Hawthorne, 
all through misprized love, alas ! George William Cur- 
tis and Charles Dana graduated out of Brook Farm, 
and went down to New York to make goodly successes 
in the great game of life. 
At Brook Farm they succeeded in the high thinking 


all right, but the entrepreneur is quite as necessary as 
the poet and a little more so. Brook Farm had no 
business head, and things unfit fall into natural disso- 
lution. But the enterprise did not fail any more than a 
rotting log fails, when it nourishes a bank of violets. 
The net results of Brook Farm's high thinking have 
passed into the -world's treasury, smelted largely by 
Emerson and Thoreau, -who were not there. 

IMMANUEL KANT has been called the father of 
modern Transcendentalists : but Socrates and his 
pupil Plato, so far as we know, were the first of 
the race. 

Neither buzzing bluebottles nor the fall of dynasties 
disturbed them. "The soul is everything," said Plato. 
"The soul knows all things," says Emerson. 
In every century a few men have lived who knew the 
value of plain living and high thinking, and very often 
the men who reversed the maxim have passed them 
the hemlock. 

All those sects known as Primitive Christians repre- 
sent variations of the idea Quakers, Mennonites, 
Communists, Shakers and Dunkards ! 
A transcendentalist is a Dukhobortsi with a college 
education. A Quaker with an artistic bias becomes a 
pre-Raphaelite, and lo ! we have News from Nowhere, 
a Dream of John Ball, Merton Abbey, Kelmscott and 
half a world is touched and tinted by the simplicity, 


sterling honesty and genuineness of one man. Q George 
Ripley, Bronson Alcott, and Ralph Waldo Emerson 
evolved New England Transcendentalism, and very 
early Henry Thoreau added a few bars of harmonious 
discords to the symphony. Horace Greeley once con- 
tended in a " Tribune" editorial that Sam Staples, the 
bum bailiff who locked Thoreau behind the bars, was 
an important factor in the New England renaissance, 
and as such should be immortalized by a statue made 
of punk, set up on Boston Common for the delectation 
of bean-eaters. I fear me Horace was a joker. 
California quail are quite different from the quail of 
New York State, and naturalists tell us that this is 
caused by a difference in environment quail being a 
product of the soil and climate. 

And man is a product of soil and climate for only in 
a certain soil can you produce a certain type of man. 
As a whole, this world is better adapted for the pro- 
duction of fish than genius most of the really good 
climate falls on the sea. Christian Scientists are Tran- 
scendentalists whose distinguishing point is that they 
secrete millinery California quail with rainbow tints 
and topknots, Balboaic instincts well defined. 

LET this fact stand, it was Emerson who made 
Concord. He saw it first he was on the ground, 
and the place was his by right of discovery, the 
title strengthened by the fact that four of his ancestors 


had been Concord clergymen, and the most excellent 
and venerable Dr. Ripley a near kinsman. 
Concord and Emerson, as early as 1840, when Emerson 
was thirty-seven years old, were synonymous. He 
had defied the traditions of Harvard, been excommu- 
nicated by his Alma Mater, published his pantheistic 
Essay on Nature, and his thin little books and sermons 
had been placed on the Boston Theological Index Ex- 

Through it all he had remained gentle, smiling, sym- 
pathetic, unresentful. 

The world can never spare the man who does his -work 
and holds his peace. Emerson was being lifted up, and 
souls were being drawn unto him. 

In 1840, Bronson Alcott, the American Socrates, with 
his interesting family, moved to Concord, drawn thither 
by the magnet of Emerson's personality. Louisa wore 
short dresses, and used to pick wild blackberries and 
sell them to the Emersons and get goodly reward in 
silver, and kindly smiles, and pats on her brown head 
by the hand that wrote " Compensation." 
Alcott was a great, honest, sincere soul, and a true an- 
arch, for he took his own wherever he saw it. He used 
to run his wheelbarrow into Emerson's garden and 
load it up with potatoes, cabbages or turnips, and once 
in response to a hint that the vegetables were private 
property, the old man somewhat petulantly exclaimed, 
" I need them ! I need them ! ' 
And that was all : anything that any man needed was 


his by divine right. And the consistency of Alcott's 
philosophy was shown in that he never took anything 
or any more than he needed, and if he had something 
that you needed, you were certainly welcome to it. If 
Alcott helped himself to the thrifty Emerson's vege- 
tables, both Emerson and Thoreau helped themselves 
to Alcott's ideas. 

Once a wagon-load of wood broke down in front of 
Alcott's house, and the farmer unhitched his horses 
and went on to the village to procure a new wheel. 
Before he got back, Alcott had carried every stick of 
the combustibles into his own wood-shed. " Provi- 
dence remembers us ! " he said. His faith was sublime. 
Q 'When all the world reaches the Alcott stage, there 
will be no need of soldiers, policemen, night-watch- 
men, or bolts, bars and locks. 

In 1840, Nathaniel Hawthorne came to Concord from 
Salem, where he had resigned his clerkship in the 
custom-house, that he might devote all his time to 
literature. He moved into the Old Manse, just vacated 
by Dr. Ripley, who had gone a' Brook-Farming the Old 
Manse where Emerson himself once lived. Elizabeth 
Peabody, the talented sister of Hawthorne's wife, lived 
at a convenient distance, and to her Hawthorne read 
most of his manuscript, for I need not explain that 
literature is not literature until it is read aloud and re- 
flected back by a sympathetic, discerning mind. Liter- 
ature is a collaboration between the reader and the 


Margaret Fuller, with her tragic life story still un- 
wound, lived hard by, and Hawthorne had already 
worked her up into copy as "Zenobia." Margaret's 
sister Ellen had married Ellery Channing, the closest, 
warmest friend that Henry Thoreau ever knew. The 
gossips arranged a double wedding with Henry and 
Margaret as the other principals, but when interviewed 
on the theme, Henry had merely shaken his head and 
said, "In the first place, Margaret Fuller is not fool 
enough to marry me ; and second, I am not fool enough 
to marry her." 

An Irishman who saw Thoreau in the field making a 
minute in his note-book, took it for granted that he was 
casting up his wages, and inquired what they came to. 
It was a peculiar farm-hand who cared more for ideas 
than wages. 

George William Curtis was also a farm-hand out on the 
Lowell Road, but came into town Saturday evenings 
taking a swim in the river on the way to attend the 
philosophical conferences at Emerson's house, and 
then went off and made gentle fun of them. 
Little Doctor Holmes occasionally drove out from 
Boston to Concord in a one-horse chaise; James Rus- 
sell Lowell had walked over from Cambridge ; and 
Longfellow had invited all hands to a birthday fete on 
his lawn at Cambridge, but Thoreau had declined, for 
himself, saying he had to look after his pond-lilies 
and the field-mice on Bedford flats. 
Thoreau, at this time, was a member of Emerson's 


household, and in a letter Emerson says, " He has his 
board for what labor he chooses to do ; he is a great 
benefactor and physician to me, for he is an indefatig- 
able and skillful laborer, besides being a scholar and a 
poet, and as full of promise as a young apple tree." 
Q And again, in a letter to Carlyle, "One reader and 
friend of yours dwells in my household, Henry 
Thoreau, a poet whom you may one day be proud of 
a noble, manly youth, full of melodies and invention. 
We work together day by day in my garden, and I 
grow well and strong." 

To work and talk is the true way to acquire an educa- 
tion. All of our best things are done incidentally not 
in cold blood. Hawthorne says in his Journal that most 
of Emerson's and Thoreau's farming was done leaning 
on the hoe handles, while Alcott sat on the fence and 
explained the Whyness of the Wherefore. 
But we must remember that in Hawthorne's ink bottle 
there was a goodly dash of tincture of iron. In his 
Journal of September ist, 1842, he writes: "Mr. 
Thoreau dined with us yesterday. He is a singular 
character a young man with much of wild, original 
nature still remaining in him ; and so far as he is so- 
phisticated, it is in a way and method of his own. He 
is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with 
uncouth and somewhat rustic ways, though his court- 
eous manner corresponds very well with such an ex- 
terior. But his ugliness is of an honest character and 
really becomes him much better than beauty." 


Little did Hawthorne's guests imagine that they were 
being basted, roasted, or fricasseed for the edification 
of posterity. 

Prosperity at this time had just begun to smile on 
Hawthorne, and among other extravagances in which 
he indulged was a boat, bought from Thoreau made 
by the hands of this expert Yankee whittler. Hawthorne 
quotes a little transcendental advice given to him by 
the maker of the boat: "In paddling a canoe, all you 
have to do is to will that your boat shall go in any par- 
ticular direction, and she will immediately take the 
course, as if imbued with the spirit of the steersman." 
Hawthorne then adds a sober postscript to this effect, 
" It may be so with you, but it is certainly not so with 


Admiration for Thoreau gradually grew very strong 
with Hawthorne, and he quotes Emerson, who called 
Thoreau "the young god Pan." And this lends much 
semblance to the statement that Thoreau served 
Hawthorne as a model for Donatello, the mysterious 
wood-sprite in the Marble Faun. 

As to the transformation of Thoreau himself, one of 
his classmates records this : 

Meeting Mr. Emerson one day, I inquired if he saw 
much of my classmate, Henry D. Thoreau, who was 
then living in Concord. "Of Thoreau?" replied Mr. 
Emerson, his face lighting up with a smile of enthusi- 
asm. " Oh, yes, we could not do without him. When 
Carlyle comes to America, I expect to introduce 
Thoreau to him as the man of Concord," and I was 


grsatly surprised at these words. They set an estimate 
on Thoreau which seemed to be extravagant. * * Not 
long after I happened to meet Thoreau in Mr. Emerson's 
study at Concord the first time we had come together 
after leaving college. I was quite startled by the trans- 
formation that had taken place in him. His short figure 
and general cast of countenance were, of course, un- 
changed; but in his manners, in the tones of his voice, 
in his modes of expression, even in the hesitations and 
pauses of his speech, he had become the counterpart 
of Mr. Emerson. Thoreau's college voice bore no re- 
semblance to Mr. Emerson's, and was so familiar to 
my ear that I could have readily identified him by it in 
the dark. I was so much struck by the change that I 
took the opportunity, as they sat near together talking, 
of listening with closed eyes, and I was unable to de- 
termine with certainty which was speaking. I do not 
know to what subtle influences to ascribe it, but after 
conversing with Mr. Emerson for even a brief time, I 
always found myself able and inclined to adopt his 
voice and manner of speaking. 

THOREAU had tried schoolteaching, but he had 
to give up his position because he would not 
exercise the birch and ferule. "If the scholars 
once find out the teacher is not goin' to sting 'em up 
when they need it, that is an end to the skule," said 
one of the directors, and he spat violently at a fly, ten 
feet away. The others agreeing with him, Thoreau 
was asked to resign. 
William Emerson, a brother of Ralph Waldo's, a 


prosperous New York merchant, had lured Ralph 
"Waldo's hired man away from him and taken him 
down to Staten Island, New York. Here Thoreau acted 
as private tutor, and imparted the mysteries of wood- 
craft to boys who cared more for marbles. 
Staten Island was about two hundred miles too far 
from Concord to suit Thoreau. 

His loneliness in New York City made Concord & the 
pine trees of Walden woods seem paradise enow. 
There is no heart desolation equal to that which can 
come to one in a throng. 

Margaret Fuller 'was now in New York City, working 
for Greeley on the editorial staff of the "Tribune." 
Greeley was so much pleased with Thoreau that he 
offered to set him to work as reporter, for Greeley had 
guessed the truth that the best city reporters are 
country boys. They observe and hear all is curious 
and wonderful to them : by and by they will become 
blase sophisticated that is, blind and deaf. 
Greeley was a great talker, and he had a way of getting 
others to talk also. He got Thoreau to talking about 
communal life and life in the woods, and then Horace 
worked Henry's words up into copy for that is 
the way all good newspaper writers evolve their 
original ideas. 

Thoreau was amazed to pick up a number of the daily 
" Tribune" and find his conversation of the day before, 
with Greeley, skillfully transformed into a leader. 
Fourierism had been the theme the Phalansterie vs. 


Individual Housekeeping. Greeley had prophesied that 
the phalansterie, with one kitchen for forty families, 
instead of forty kitchens for forty families, would soon 
come about. Greeley 's prophetic vision did not quite 
anticipate the modern apartment house, "which per- 
haps is a transitional expedient, moving toward the 
phalansterie, but he quoted Thoreau by saying, "A 
woman enslaved by her housekeeping is just as much 
a chattel as if owned by a man." 

This was in 1845, and Thoreau was now twenty-eight 
years of age. He was homesick for the dim pine woods 
with their ceaseless lullaby, the winding and placid 
river, and the great, massive, sullen, self-sufficient 
boulders of Concord. 

He was resolved to follow the example of Brook Farm, 
and start a community of his own in opposition. His 
community would be on the shores of Walden Pond, 
and the only member of the genus homo who would 
be eligible to membership would be himself; the other 
members would be the birds and squirrels and bees, 
and the trees would make up the rest. Brook Farm 
was a retreat for transcendentalists a place to medi- 
tate, dream and work a place where one could exist 
close to nature, and live a simple, hardy and healthful 
life & *T 

Thoreau's retreat would be the same, with the disad- 
vantage of personal contact eliminated. 
It was in March, 1845, that Thoreau began building his 
shanty. The spot was in a dense woods, on a hillside 


that gently sloped down to the clear, cold, deep water 
of Walden Pond. The land belonged to Emerson, who 
obligingly gave Thoreau the use of it, rent free, with 
no conditions. Alcott helped in the carpenter work, 
and discussed betimes of the "Wherefore, and when it 
came to the raising, a couple of neighboring farmers 
were hailed and pressed into service. The cabin was 
twelve by fifteen, and cost furnished the sum of 
twenty-eight dollars, good money, not counting labor, 
which Thoreau did not calculate as worth anything, 
since he had had the fun of the thing something for 
which men often pay high. 

The furniture consisted of a table, a chair, and a bed, 
all made by the owner. For bedclothes and dishes 
the Emerson household was put under contribution. 
On the door was a latch, but no lock. 
And Thoreau looked upon his work and pronounced it 

Stripped of the fact that a man of culture and education 
built the shanty and lived in it, the incident is scarcely 
worth noting. Boys passing through the shanty stage, 
all build shanties, and forage through their mothers' 
pantries for provender, which they carry off to their 
robbers' roost. Thoreau was an example of shanty ar- 
rested development. 

But as the import of every sentence depends upon who 
wrote it, and the worth of advice hinges upon who 
gave it, so does the value of every act depend upon 
who did it. Thus when a man, who was in degree an 


inspiration of Emerson, takes to the woods, it is worth 
our while to follow him a' field and see what he does. 
Q Thoreau set to work to clean up two acres of black- 
berry brambles for a garden-patch. He did not work 
excepting when he felt like it. His plan was to go to 
bed at dusk, with window and door open, and get up 
at five o'clock in the morning. After a plunge in the 
lake he would dress and prepare his simple breakfast. 
Then he would work in his garden, or if the mood 
struck him, he would sit in the door of his shanty and 
meditate, or else write. In the arrangement of his home 
he followed no system or rule, merely allowing the 
passing inclination to lead. 

His provisions were gotten of friends in the village, 
and were paid for in labor. It was part of Thoreau' s 
philosophy that to accept something for nothing was 
theft, and that the giving or acceptance of presents 
was immoral. For all he received he conscientiously 
gave an equivalent in labor; and as for ideas, he al- 
ways considered himself a learner ; if he had thoughts 
they belonged to anybody who could annex them. And 
that Emerson and Horace Greeley were alike in their 
capacity to absorb, digest & regurgitate, is everywhere 
acknowledged. To paraphrase Emerson's famous re- 
mark concerning Plato: Say what you will, you will 
find everything mentioned by Emerson hinted at some- 
where in Thoreau. The younger man had as much 
mind as the elder, but he lacked the capacity for patient 
effort that works steadily, persistently, and weighs, 


sifts, decides, classifies and arranges. The voice -was 
the voice of Jacob, but the hand was the hand of Esau. 
That is to say, Thoreau lacked business instinct. Dur- 
ing the winter at Walden Pond, all the work Thoreau 
had to do was to gather fire-wood. There was plenty 
of time to think and write, and here the better part of 
" Walden" and " A Week on the Concord and Merri- 
mac Rivers" were -written. He had no neighbors, no 
pets, no domesticated animals only the squirrels on 
the roof, a woodchuck under the floor, the scolding 
blue jays in the pines overhead, the wild-ducks on the 
pond, and the hooting owls that sat on the ridge-pole 
at night. 

Thoreau loved solitude more because he prized society 
the society of simple men who could talk and tell 
things. Thoreau was no hermit at least twice a week 
he would go to the village and meander along the street, 
gossiping with all or any. Often he would accept in- 
vitations to supper, but on principle refused all invita- 
tions to remain over night, no matter what the weather. 
Indeed, as Hawthorne hints, there is a trace of the 
theatrical in the man who leaves a warm fireside at 
nine or ten o'clock at night and trudges off through 
the darkness, storm and sleet, feeling his way through 
the blackness of the 'woods to a cold and cheerless 
shanty which he with unconscious humor calls home, 
Hawthorne hints that Thoreau was a delightful poseur 
he posed so naturally that he deceived even himself. 
On one particular visit to the village, however, he did 


not go back home for the night. It seems that he had 
been called upon by the local tax-gatherer for his poll- 
tax, a matter of a dollar and a quarter. Thoreau argued 
the question at length, and among other things, said, 
" I will not give money to buy a musket, and hire a 
man to use this musket to shoot another." And also, 
" The best government is not that v^hich governs least, 
but that -which governs not at all." 

" But what shall I do?" said the patient publican. 
Q " Resign, " said the philosopher. 
Thoreau seemed to forget that office-holders seldom 
die and never resign. In the argument the publican 
was worsted, but he was not without resource. He 
'went back to town and told the other officials -what had 
happened. Their dignity was at stake. Alcotthad been 
guilty of a like defiance some time before, and now it 
was the belief that he was putting the younger man up 
to insurrection. 

The next time Thoreau came over to the village for 
his mail he was arrested and lodged in the local bastile. 
Q Emerson, hearing of the trouble, hastened to the jail, 
and reaching the presence of the prisoner asked sternly, 
" Henry, why are you here?' 

And the answer was, " Waldo, why are you not here ? " 
Emerson had no use for such fine-spun theories of 
duty, and the matter was too near home for a joke, so 
he turned away and let the culprit spend the night in 
limbo. The next morning Thoreau was released, the 
tax having been paid by some unknown person 


Emerson, undoubtedly. This was a tame enough end- 
ing to -what was rather an interesting affair the hope 
of the best citizens being that Thoreau would get a 
goodly sentence for vagrancy. The townfolk looked 
upon Thoreau and Alcott with suspicious eyes. They 
both came in for much well-deserved censure, and 
Emerson did not go unsmirched, since he was guilty of 
harboring and encouraging these ne'er-do-wells. 
Thoreau' s cabin-life continued for two summers and 
winters. He had proved that two hours manual work 
each day was sufficient to keep a man twenty cents a 
day would suffice. 

The last year in the woods he had many callers: Agas- 
siz had been to see him, Emerson had often called, 
Ellery Channing was a frequent visitor, and picnickers 
were constant. Lowell had made a few cutting remarks 
to the effect that "as compared with shanty-life, the 
tub of Diogenes was preferable, as it had a much 
sounder bottom," and Hawthorne had written of " the 
beauties of conspicuous solitude." 

Thoreau felt that he was attracting too much attention, 
and that perhaps Hawthorne was right, a recluse who 
holds receptions is becoming the thing he pretends to 
despise. Besides that, there was plenty of precedent for 
quitting Brook Farm had gone by the board, and was 
but a memory. 

Thoreau's shanty was turned over to a utilitarian 
Scotchman with red hair. Later the immortal shanty 
was a useful granary. Thoreau went back to the village 


Emerson's Home 


to live in a garret and work at odd jobs of boat-building 
and gardening. 

Now only a pile of boulders marks the place where the 
cabin stood. For some years, each visitor to the spot 
threw a stone upon the heap, but recently the propo- 
sition has been reversed and each visitor takes a stone 
away, which reveals not a reversal in the sentiment 
toward the memory of Thoreau, but a change in the 
quality of the Concord pilgrim. 


THOREAU'S early death was the direct result of 
his reckless lack of common prudence. That 
which made him live, in a literary way, cur- 
tailed his years. The man was improperly and imper- 
fectly nourished, physically. Men who live alone do 
not cook any more than they have to : men and women, 
both, cook for emulation. That is to say, we work for 
each other, & we succeed only as we help each other. 
Q Thoreau was such a pronounced individualist that 
he cared for no one but himself, and he cared for him- 
self not at all. It is wife, children and home that teach 
a man prudence, and make him bank against the storm. 
" At Walden no one bothered me but the State," said 
Thoreau. If Thoreau had had a family and treated his 
household as he treated himself, that scorned thing, 
the State, would have stepped in and sent him to the 
workhouse, and his children to the Home for the 


If he had treated dumb animals as he treated himself, 
the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 
would have interfered. The absence of social ties and 
of all responsibilities, fixed in his peculiar temper- 
ament an indifference to hunger, heat, cold, wet, damp, 
and all bodily discomfort that classes the man with 
the flagellants. He tells of whole days when he ate 
nothing but berries and drank only cold water ; and at 
other times of how he walked all day in a soaking 
rain and went to bed at night, supperless, under a pine 
tree. Emerson records the fact that on long tramps 
Thoreau would carry only a chunk of plum-cake for 
food, because it was rich and contained condensed nu- 

The question is sometimes asked, " How can one eat 
his cake and keep it too?' but this does not refer to 

A few years of plum-cake, cold mince pie and con- 
tinual wet feet will put the petard under even the 
stoutest constitution. 

During his shanty-life Thoreau was imperfectly nour- 
ished, and for the victim of mal-assimilation, tubercu- 
losis hunts and needs no spy-glass. 
It is absurd for a man to make a god of his digestive 
apparatus, but it is just as bad to forget that the belly 
is as much the gift of God as the brain. 
In childhood, Thoreau was frail and weak. Outdoor 
life gradually developed on his slight frame a splendid 
strength and a power to do and endure. He could out- 


run, outrow, outwalk any of his townsmen. In him de- 
veloped the confidence of the athlete the confidence 
of the athlete who dies young. Thoreau was an athlete, 
and he died as the athlete dieth. Irregular diet and 
continued exposure did their work the vital powers 
became reduced, the man "caught cold," bronchitis 
followed, and the tuberculse laughed. 

DURING Thoreau' s life he published but two vol- 
umes, and these met with scanty sale. Since 
his death ten volumes have been issued from 
his manuscripts and letters, and his fame has steadily 

Boston had no recognition for Thoreau as long as he 
was alive. Among the most popular writers of the 
time, feted and feasted, invited and exalted, were 
George S. Hillard, N. P. Willis, Caroline Kirkland, 
George W. Green, Parke Godwin and Charles F. Briggs. 
These writers, who had the run of the magazines, 
would have smiled in derision if told that the name 
and fame of the uncouth Thoreau would outlive them 
all. They wrote for the people who bought their books, 
but Thoreau dedicated his work to time. He wrote 
what he thought, but they wrote what they thought 
other people thought. 

In the publication of " The Dial," Thoreau took a hearty 
interest, and was a frequent contributor. The official 
organ of the transcendentalists, however, paid no 


honorariums it was both sincere and serious, and 
died in due time of too much dignity. The "Atlantic 
Monthly ' ' accepted one article by Thoreau, and paid for 
it, but as James Russell Lowell, the editor, used his 
blue pencil a trifle, without first consulting the author, 
he never got an opportunity to do so again. 
Horace Greeley had interested himself in Thoreau' s 
writings and gotten several articles accepted by 
Graham's and also Putnam's Magazine. "The Week' 
had been published on the author's guaranty that 
enough copies would be sold the first year to cover the 
cost. After four years, of the edition of one thousand 
copies, only three hundred were disposed of, and these 
were mostly given away. To pay the publisher for the 
expense incurred, Thoreau buckled down and worked 
hard at surveying for a year. 

The only man he ever knew, of whom he stood a little 
in awe, was Walt Whitman. In a letter to Blake he says : 

Nineteenth Nov., 1856. Alcott has been here, and last 
Sunday I went with him to Greeley 's farm, thirty-six 
miles north of New York. The next day Alcott and I 
heard Beecher preach ; and what was more, we visited 
Whitman the next morning, and we were much in- 
terested and provoked. He is apparently the greatest 
democrat the world has seen, kings and aristocracy go 
by the board at once, as they have long deserved to. 
A remarkably strong though coarse nature, of a sweet 
disposition, and much prized by his friends. Though 
peculiar and rough in his exterior, he is essentially a 
gentleman. I am still somewhat in a quandary about 
him feel that he is essentially strange to me, at any 


rate; but I am surprised by the sight of him. He is very 
broad, but, as I have said, not fine. 
Seventh Dec., 1856. That Walt Whitman, of whom 
I wrote you, is the most interesting fact to me at 
present. I have just read his second edition (which he 
gave me), and it has done me more good than any 
reading for a long time. Perhaps I remember best the 
poem of " Walt Whitman an American " & the " Sun- 
down ' ' poem. There are two or three pieces in the book 
which are disagreeable, to say the least, simply sensual. 
* * * * As for its sensuality and it may turn out to be 
less sensual than it appears I do not so much wish 
that those parts were not written, as that men and 
women were so pure that they could read them with- 
out harm. 

On the whole, it sounds to me very brave and Ameri- 
can, after whatever deductions. I do not believe that 
all the sermons, so called, that have been preached in 
this land, put together, are equal to it for preaching. 
We ought greatly to rejoice in him. He occasionally 
suggests something a little more than human. You 
can't confound him with the other inhabitants of 
Brooklyn. How they must shudder when they read 

To be sure, I sometimes feel a little imposed on. By 
his heartiness and broad generalities he puts me into 
a liberal frame of mind, prepared to see wonders as 
it were, sets me upon a hill or in the midst of a plain 
stirs me well up, and then throws in a thousand of 
brick. Though rude and sometimes ineffectual, it is a 
great primitive poem, an alarum or trumpet-note ring- 
ing through the American camp. Wonderfully like the 
Orientals too, considering that when I asked him if he 
had read them, he answered, " No ; tell me about them." 
Since I have seen him, I find that I am not dis- 


turbed by any brag or egoism in his book. He may turn 
out the least of a braggart of all, having a better right 
to be confident. Walt is a great fellow. 

A lady once asked John Burroughs this question, 
"What would become of this world if everybody in it 
patterned after Henry Thoreau ? ' ' And Ol' John replied, 
" It would be much improved." 

But your Uncle John is a humorist he knows that 
Henry Ward Beecher was right when he said, " God 
never made but one Thoreau that was enough, but 
we are grateful for the one." 

Thoreau was a poet-naturalist, and the lesson he taught 
us is that this is the most beautiful world we know 
anything about, and there is enough curious and won- 
derful things right under our feet, and over our heads, 
and all around us, to amuse, divert, interest and in- 
struct us for a lifetime. We need only a little. 
Use your eyes ! 

" How do you manage to find so many Indian relics ? ' 
a friend asked Thoreau. "Just like this," he replied, 
and stooping over, he picked up an arrow-head under 
the friend's foot. At dinner once at a neighbor's he was 
asked what dish he preferred, and his answer was, "The 
nearest.' 5 To him, everything was good he uttered 
no complaints and made no demands. 
When asked by a clergyman why he did not go to 
church, he said " It is the rafters I can't stand them 
when I look up, I want to gaze straight into the blue 
sky." Then he turned the tables and asked the inter- 


rogator a question, " Did you ever happen, accidentally, 
to say anything while you were preaching?" Yet 
preachers of brains were always attracted to him : 
Harrison Blake, to whom he wrote more letters than 
to any one else, was a Congregational preacher. And 
when Horace Greeley took Thoreau to Plymouth 
Church, Beecher invited him to sit on the platform and 
quoted him as one who saw God in autumn's every 
burning bush. 

The wit of the man his direct speech, and all of his 
beautiful indifference for the good opinion of those whom 
others follow after and lie in wait for, was sublime. 
Meanness, hypocrisy, secrecy and subterfuge had no 
place in Thoreau's nature. 

He wanted nothing nothing but liberty he did not 
even ask for your applause or approval. When v/alking 
on country roads, laborers would hail him and ask for 
tobacco seeing in him only one of their own kind. 
Farmers would stop and gossip with him about the 
weather. Children ran to him on the village streets and 
would cling to his hands and clutch his coat, and 
ask where the berries grew, or the first spring flowers 
were to be found. With children he was particularly 
patient and kind. With them he would converse as 
freely as did George Francis Train with the children 
in Madison Square. The children recognized in him 
something very much akin to themselves he would 
play upon his flute for them and whittle out toy boats, 
regardless of the flight of time. 


Imbeciles and mental defectives from the almshouse 
used to occasionally wander over to his cabin in the 
woods, and he would treat them with gentle consider- 
ation, and accompany them back home. 
His lack of worldly prudence, Blake thought, tokened 
a courage which under certain conditions would have 
made him as formidable as John Brown. Blake tells 
this : Once on a lonely road, two miles from Concord, 
two loafers stopped a girl who was picking berries, and 
began to bother her. Thoreau just then happened along* 
and seeing the young woman's distress, he collared 
the rogues and marched them into the village, turning 
them over to that redoubtable transcendentalist, Sam 
Staples, who locked them up. Thoreau's hook nose 
and features could be transformed in rare instances 
into a look of command that no man dare question it 
was the look of the fatalist the benign fanatic the 
look of Marat the look of a man who has nothing but 
his life to lose, and places small store on that. " A little 
more ambition, and a trifle less sympathy, and the 
world would have had a Caesar to deal with," says 
Blake & & 

Cowardice is only caution carried to an extreme. 
Thoreau exercised no prudence in making money, se- 
curing fame, preserving his health, holding his friends, 
or making new ones. This Spartan-like quality, that 
counts not the cost, is essentially heroic. 
But Thoreau was not given to strife; for the most 
part, he was a non-resistant. The chief thing he prized 


was equanimity, and this you cannot secure through 
struggle and strife. His game was all captured with the 
spy-glass, or carried home in his botanists' drum. For 
worldly "wealth and what we call progress, he had 
small appreciation this marks his limitations. But his 
reasons are surely good literature : 

They make a great ado nowadays about hard times ; 
but I think that the community generally, ministers 
and all, take a wrong view of the matter. This general 
failure, both private and public, is rather occasion for 
rejoicing, as reminding us whom we have at the helm 
that justice is always done. If our merchants did not 
most of them fail, and the banks too, my faith in the 
old laws of the world would be staggered. The state- 
ment that ninety-six in a hundred doing such business 
surely break down, is perhaps the sweetest fact that 
statistics have revealed exhilarating as the fragrance 
of the flowers in the spring. Does it not say some- 
where, " The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice ? " If 
thousands are thrown out of employment, it suggests 
that they were not well employed. Why don't they 
take the hint ? It is not enough to be industrious ; so 
are the ants. What are you industrious about ? 
The merchants and company have long laughed at 
transcendentalism, higher laws, etc., crying " None of 
your moonshine," as if they were anchored to some- 
thing not only definite, but sure and permanent. If 
there were any institution which was presumed to 
rest on a solid and secure basis, and more than any 
other, represented this boasted common sense, pru- 
dence, and practical talent, it was the bank ; and now 
these very banks are found to be mere reeds shaken 
by the wind. 
Scarcely one in the land has kept its promise. Not 


merely the Brook Farm and Fourierite communities, 
but now the community generally has failed. But there 
is the moonshine still, serene, beneficent, and un- 
changed & & 

Thoreau was no pessimist. He complained neither of 
men nor destiny he felt that he was getting out of 
life all that was his due. His remarks might be sharp 
and his words sarcastic, but in them there was no 
bitterness. He made life for none more difficult he 
added to no one's burdens. Sympathy 'with nature, 
pride, buoyancy, self- sufficiency were his prevailing 
traits. The habit of his mind was hopeful. 
His wit and good nature were his to the last, and 
when asked if he had made his peace with God, he 
replied, " I have never quarreled with Him." 
He died, aged forty-four, in the modest home of his 
mother. The village school was dismissed that the 
scholars might attend the funeral, and three hundred 
children walked in the procession to Sleepy Hollow. 
Emerson made an address at the grave ; Alcott read 
selections from Thoreau's own writings ; and Louise 
Alcott read this poem, composed for the occasion : 

We sighing said, " Our Pan is dead ; 

His pipe hangs mute beside the river, 

Around it wistful sunbeams quiver, 
But Music's airy voice is fled. 
Spring mourns as for untimely frost : 

The bluebird chants a requiem ; 

The willow-blossom waits for him ; 
The Genius of the wood is lost." 


Then from the flute, untouched by hands, 

There came a low harmonious breath ; 

" For such as he there is no death ; 
His life the eternal life commands ; 
Above man's aims his nature rose. 

The wisdom of a just content 

Made one small spot a continent, 
And turned to poetry life's prose. 

" To him no vain regrets belong, 

Whose soul, that finer instrument, 

Gave to the world no poor lament, 
But wood-notes ever sweet and strong. 
O lonely friend ! he still will be 

A potent presence, though unseen 

Steadfast, sagacious, and serene; 
Seek not for him he is with thee." 


The Grave of Emerson 

Broil son Aloott 

|E are not surprised that Elbert 
Hubbard's LITTLE JOURNEYS are 
being introduced into our High 
Schools as text books. There is a 
lightness of touch, a noticeable 
freedom from the pedantic, ossi- 
fied & formal in his work that sets 
it apart, separate and distinct. Fra 
Elbertus writes as he feels, and 
usually he feels right. He is more 
interested in life than in literature ; 
he is so full of his subject that he 
radiates it. And if he occasionally 
walks all over our old-time rules of 
rhetoric, we are the gainers. Many 
a book has been regarded as pro- 
found, when it was only stupid. 
IF In his writings Elbert Hubbard 
is as vivid as Victor Hugo, as rip- 
pling as Heinrich Heine, as tender 
as Jean Paul ; and we must remem- 
ber that the chief charge brought 
against all of these men was that 
they were interesting. Nowadays 
we do not consider dullness a vir- 
tue. We shun the turgid and lugu- 
brious. We ask for life. 


'f your subscription reaches 
us within two weeks after 
you receive this offer, we 
will present you, Gratis, a 
leather-bound, silk-lined /$ 
Roycroft book, the price of 
which is Cwo Dollars /#/# 

Chis is the Offer: Remit us Cwo Dollars 
and we will send you Che Philistine magazine 
for a year, Little 'Journeys for 1 905, begin- 
ning with January number, also one $2.00 
Roycroft Book all for Cwo Dollars & Che 
Little journeys, by Glbert Rubbard, for 1 905 
will be "Co Che Domes of Great Scientists/' 
and the Subjects are as follows : 








The Philistine, a year, $1.00 

Little Journeys, a year, 3.00 

One Roy croft Book, 2.00 

Total, - - - $<UM) 

Two Dollars for All 


THE PHILISTINE, East Aurora, N. Y. 

Enclosed find Two Dollars, and I request 
you to send me The Philistine magazine for one 
year, and Little Journeys for 1905, also the 
gratis Two-Dollar Roycroft Book, all as per 
your special offer. 








|AKE yourself a Present of a LIFE 
MEMBERSHIP in the American 
Academy of Immortals and we will 
send you, gratis, in the first install- 
ment of Good Stuff, FIFTEEN 
DOLLARS' worth of Books to give away to your 
Friends. Ten Dollars does the trick for 99 years, 

THE ROYCROFTERS, East Aurora, N. Y.